Yeah, whatever…

I can imagine many photographers’ partners’ feel like this…!



The darkroom returns

After some 15 years of my darkroom sitting in various attics quietly hoping for the day it would return to use – that day has finally come. A couple of nights ago, I printed a couple of basic photos on 10″x8″ and 12″x16″ Ilford Multigrade IV RC paper. I was really rusty, but I took my time and everything turned out okay. Even though it’s been a very long time, the process still feels quite natural to me – including the dodging and burning.

I printed sample images from Ilford HP5+, Adox Silvermax and Kodak Tr-X. All the films looked good on the photographic paper. As expected the Tri-X gave fantastic rich blacks, Silvermax a great tonal range and HP5+ the classic slightly flat look it is famous for. What I mostly noticed was that grain is much less apparent in an actual darkroom print than a digital scan. The image posted here does very little justice to the original print. I had read that scanners tend to enlarge grain on film, and this seems to be the case from my very limited experience here.

In terms of the photographs I printed, HP5+ has been my favourite to print. The images have a classic photojournalistic look – because the film is, of course, a classic photojournalists’ film!

Over the coming months I will use it some more, but not often as time is limited. A single decent final print can take several hours (test print; straight print; adjustments to grade and dodging and burning, etc.). However, the process for me is about enjoyment and taking photography back to basics.