In an era where the digital camera creators are competing with each other in a matter of megapixels or sensor sizes, some photographers decide to go back in time and give a new life to the old dusted analog cameras. In the last two or three years, taking pictures on a 35 millimeters film became, little by little, a trend and as pandemic as the COVID-19. All over the world, people were captivated by this new photographic wind and started to search, buy or sell the grandfather's old cameras. This trend soon became a profitable business; the so-called vintage cameras were started to be sold at so much increased prices that sometimes their value was pumped up up to ten times compared to the initial selling price.
Consequently, the rolls of film, the classic size (35 mm) or medium size, started to pop-up for sale everywhere in the world.
That increased demand brought on the market even the expired rolls to be sold, some of them long time past the warranty date printed on the label. Sellers from the former USSR, or Poland, or God knows what country in the world offered outdated film rolls from the '90s or even the '80s; it didn't matter – the freshly analog camera users bought them as it was fresh bread… And everybody everywhere started to take pictures on film. A click here, few other clicks there, and the roll was done. Once taken out of the camera, a big dilemma arises for anyone: what to do next? For the color negatives, there still existed those processing centers, where for the equivalent of around $12, you could have your negative developed and your creation exposed. But for the black-and-white films, it was quite a dead-end. Soon, the monochrome lovers discovered that they have to process such rolls by themselves. And that 'do-it-yourself' job sounded frightening; to mix some chemicals in a specific order at for a sharp concentration, to wait a precisely defined amount of time, to wash, or to fix the film roll – that entire job seemed to be harder to do. Because it sounded confusing and because it had so little room for errors.
Jean Lapalme, a Saint-JeanBaptiste resident, was among those many others who re-discovered the film photography's beauty.
I started when I was 16 years old to take pictures with an old camera, but I stopped to do it soon after. The time passed by, and I started to do pictures again on a film about 7 years ago, he confessed, And I never gave it up ever since!.
Because all that film developing procedure might seem complicated, he offered to explain for the LENS MAGAZINE readers, and film rolls lovers a step-by-step tutorial about what to use, in which concentration, and for how long of a waiting time the substances in order to process a black-and-white film. He arranged the darkroom in a small room of the house and what has the role of a table to put on the glassware necessary to the mixing and processing is nothing else but the washing machine.
THE PATIENCE IS EVERYTHING
If you had the patience to choose your subjects and take the pictures, then it worth having that patience one more time to process the film roll you have finished, said Jean about the film developing procedure. It takes around 20 minutes altogether, and you will have to mix substances, to dilute substances, to wait, to rinse, and to repeat.
The Quebec photographer knows that each substance has a particular mix for each kind of film roll.
For a Fomapan film, you will have to wait 6 minutes to develop it, and for a Kodak film, for instance, you will wait another amount of time. Some tables are easily found on the Internet about the mixing proportions and about the waiting time.
But for any brand of negative film (black-and-white and color as well), there are three significant steps to be taken, in the same order, every time that film is processed: the developer, the stop bath, and the fixer.
Always start with the developer. This mix will wash away the parts of the film that were not in contact with the light, revealing the negative frame of what we pictured. I am using Kodak substances for this procedure that requires certain sharp proportions to be mixed. Some other brands on the market apart from Kodak and each brand ask for a certain dilution. Personally, I do prefer Kodak because it will give me more contrast on the negative at the end of the process.
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