Friday, July 2, 2010

Traditional printing when digital is so darn fast

My daughter Hannah is learning to print.

For those of us who grew up with a darkroom it's an enjoyable time in the dark as we massage a photograph out of a negative. For the digital generation it's a slow process with steps that don't make sense and a process that's foreign to the push a button life on the iMac.

She started off with six rolls of film from a recent volunteer stint in Haiti. She was there teaching English and helping out where she could following the earthquake and took a couple cameras with her.

To complement the digital photos of the trip, Hannah shot black and white on a Zeiss Ikon rangefinder with a Zeiss Biogon 35mm F2 lens.

Now I've been using steel processing reels for 35 years but realized it's time to pick up some plastic reels and a Paterson Tank if Hannah's going to load the film down the road. The film was Ilford Delta 400 processed in Ilford ID-11 mixed 1:3 for 16 minutes. This produces a nice thick, flat negative with light grain and very controlled highlights.

Contacts were made using Ilford MultiGrade RC paper developed in the Bromophen developer that Ilford makes. The contacts sat out and dried overnight so we could make selections the next day.

If you're looking for traditional photography supplies including items needed in the darkroom you can find them at my mail order website.

Rob Skeoch

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