Developing in Urine

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Don Wallace, Apr 7, 2008.

  1. Don Wallace

    Don Wallace Member

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    I am guessing the subject line caught everyone's eye.

    My wife was at a film archives conference recently in NYC and one of the books she brought back was a collection of reproductions from newsletters published by what you might call "alternative" filmmakers (motion picture). One of these articles described a method of developing 16mm b&w motion picture stock in urine. Well, to be precise, in D-19 and urine - it was the same method of mixing except instead of water, one used urine.

    The author recommended using urine collected the morning after an evening of drinking (perhaps this calls for a new kind of photographic outing, followed by a darkroom session). The author claimed that the film came out pretty much the same as with regular D-19 and water, but with an additional ... "sparkle." Somethign to do with pH.

    The part that truly grossed me out was heating up the urine on the stove to the correct temperature for mixing in the D-19. I suggest you do it outside or, at the very least, don't do it in my kitchen.

    I think that this formula should be called P-19.

    I swear to you that this is true and will send scans of the article to whomever wants to read it.
     
  2. pesphoto

    pesphoto Member

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    I think I just threw up......
     
  3. Don Wallace

    Don Wallace Member

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    I don't think you can develop anything in vomit, but I am not a chemist.
     
  4. mark

    mark Member

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    Well, it is sterile when it comes out.
     
  5. middy

    middy Member

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    I thought D-76 smelled a bit like urine when I was mixing it up for the first time last week...
     
  6. rwyoung

    rwyoung Member

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  7. bobwysiwyg

    bobwysiwyg Subscriber

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    :smile:
     
  8. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    In Grant Haist's book "Modern Photographic Processing" he describes the use of both urine and wine alone for development. I guess using the combination of urine after drinking wine is not so far fetched or such a stretch as the tannins would pass through the body to a certain extend, and the byproducts of metabolism are related to developing agents.

    I wonder if mouse urine would work. We have had a persistant family of mice digging under the porch. I plugged the hole with concrete the other day and found the day after that the mouse, in his frustration, had left claw marks on the concrete and then had urinated on it. There were visible claw marks and 2 or 3 small yellow puddles on top of the new concrete. Should I collect a sample? :D Squirrel urine would probably be better due to their diet of acorns. All of the tannins would be great.

    PE
     
  9. greybeard

    greybeard Member

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    Never mind the mice---find a horse....it seems that horse urine contains catechol (ok, so does human urine) with the added benefit that you can make a batch large enough for deep-tank 8x10 processing with just one go.

    Gonna need a lot of wine and some oats, though.
     
  10. Christopher Nisperos

    Christopher Nisperos Member

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    Yeah, but if you process important film in this type of developer and it doesn't come out ... well, then urine trouble!
     
  11. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    GROAN.

    That was awful Chris.

    PE
     
  12. zenrhino

    zenrhino Member

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    Sounds like a piss-poor way to develop film.

    Sorry, couldn't help myself. :D
     
  13. Philippe-Georges

    Philippe-Georges Member

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    During the war, it was common use in the résistance, there was nothing else, and now AGFA has gone...
     
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  15. jackc

    jackc Member

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    I doubt urine would be that suitable as a developer. The smell is different. Developers usually have a soap like smell. But the TF-4, which is an alkaline fixer, has the right smell, and even stronger intensity. This seems promising. Especially since the price of TF-4 has gone up so much. May be it's time to experiment.
     
  16. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    Now that you mention it, yeah. Dektol kinda smells like horse pee.
     
  17. sanking

    sanking Member

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    In Troop and Anchell's Film Developing Cookbook it is stated that the benzene pyrocatechin is a constituent of human urine.

    I wonder if urine based developers stain and tan?

    Probably not if there is sulfite in there, as there might be after excessive consumption of wine. The stain of pyrocatechin is highly sensitive to an excess of sulfite.

    Sandy King
     
  18. RobC

    RobC Member

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    horse urine smells very strongly of ammonia.

    I just want to know how these sick people came to discover that developing in urine works. My guess would be that like most things written on photography, the author cobbled their writing together from other peoples writing. So it only takes one joker to write it and and everyone else does too.
     
  19. greybeard

    greybeard Member

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    Sigh. Makes me nostalgic for the days when all had to worry about in the darkroom was light leaks.
     
  20. rusty71

    rusty71 Member

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    All I can say is, I'd hate to see what they TONE film with....
     
  21. cotdt

    cotdt Member

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    I know some people who actually drink their own urine, so this can't be too bad. I'm going to try this.
     
  22. Absinthe

    Absinthe Member

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    It is amazing how much controversy urine brings to any conversation. In and of itself unless the donor is ill urine is sterile when it comes out. it contains lots of nitrogen compounds, and a whole bunch of other stuff. There seems to be a use for it in all sorts of things. I remember in the Army when they taught us about heat stroke the need to douse the patient in water, if none were available.... well you better believe everyone made sure to drink their water that summer :smile:

    Of course it all depends on what you have eaten and what you have drunk and what medications you are using and what degree of hydration you have...
     
  23. AgX

    AgX Member

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    I'm surprised too by all that commotion. I'm curious about the chemical aspects of it.

    (By the way, here urine as means of medical therapy is being discussed for quite a time; the most famous book on it is now in its 38th edition.)
     
  24. PVia

    PVia Member

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    Advantages:

    1. Perfect for bathroom darkrooms!

    2. And I thought HC-110 was cheap!

    3. You can now tray develop in bed pans!

    Disadvantages:

    1. Drugs that show up in urine could alter N+1 times

    2. Side effects include waking up in the middle of the night with sudden urge to develop film

    3. Viagra use could possibly turn negatives to instant cyanotypes

    4. Dilutions would have to be figured using an Excel spreadsheet inputting all liquids consumed within the last 24-48 hours, i.e. Kodak's unofficial Dilution P
     
  25. Hologram

    Hologram Member

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    I guess the important part here is UREA. It's said to soften gelatin and might increase penetration by the developer to counter effects from tanning development.
    There is a well known developer used for ultra-fine grain emulsions, called CW-C2:

    catechol....................10g
    ascorbic acid............10g
    sodium sulfite............5g
    urea............................5g
    sodium carbonate....50g
    Distilled water............1L
     
  26. cotdt

    cotdt Member

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    There is also catechol in urine