First Darkroom Visit...

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by ChristopherCoy, Sep 16, 2011.

  1. ChristopherCoy

    ChristopherCoy Member

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    So I finally got all the basic stuff needed to develop a print, and tonight I did a quick and dirty run. I set everything up in the bathroom at my studio and developed a print. I made about 5 prints of this before I got to this one.

    I know that its not perfect, probably needs tons of improvement in areas ranging from the camera all the way to the fixer, but I did it. I bought the camera, shot the film, developed the film, and made the print - a completely manual process.

    Now that I've gotten the excitement of the camera purchase, and the film purchase, and the darkroom out of my system, its time to get down to business. I need to read some books, do some research, brush up on my shooting, and start the hands on learning in the darkroom.

    In any event, here is a scan of my first print in over 15 years.
     

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  2. ghostcount

    ghostcount Member

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    Congrats! The best is yet to come.
     
  3. zsas

    zsas Member

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    CONGRATS!! Glad to hear of your success! Great job! Best, Andy
     
  4. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

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    Nice job! Your print isn't bad. As good as or better than I can do. Maybe there could be some improvements but, if the result is like the image you had in your mind when you took the picture then technical considerations be damned. If it turned out the way you wanted then it is perfect the way it stands.

    Technique is something you will work on for your entire life. You might work on a photograph for days and slave over it until it is "perfect." Then, one day in the future you will probably come back and look at it again and say, "This is crap!" As we learn and grow, our perception of what is good and what is crap changes. I have looked at photos I took 20+ years ago and some of the ones I thought were great, I now think are crap but the reverse is often true, too. Photos I thought were crap, back then, I think are good when I look at them again. Our ideas of what is good and what is not good, our tastes and artistic vision are all fluid over time.

    In the end, I say, the real satisfaction comes from knowing that you produced the photograph that you see before you with your own hand.

    It's like fixing your own car or making your own home repairs. There is a sense of ownership that comes with doing something by yourself.
     
  5. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    Looks great to me!

    Jeff
     
  6. Ronald Moravec

    Ronald Moravec Member

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    And a fine print is.

    I think it is like riding a bicycle, you never forget.
     
  7. ChristopherCoy

    ChristopherCoy Member

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    This.

    There was no Photoshop, there is no Lightroom, there's no digital action or preset applied... It's mine and no one else on the world could produce this EXACT image. Close, but not exact.

    I can't wait to get back in there and try some more. I have 92 more sheets of paper to ruin in the name of learning, or re-learning...
     
  8. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

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    It makes me happy to hear that! :smile:

    I think that the sense of craftsmanship is a forgotten attitude, these days.

    I'm a photographer and photography is where I choose to apply my craft but it can apply to almost anything. Even if it is simply cooking dinner, one should have pride in the meal they made.

    Too many people will pop a frozen dinner into the microwave and call it a meal. Aside from the fact that processed food isn't so good for you, it diminishes the sense that a person made something. There are too many people who will snap a pic with a digicam, press the "print" button then take the paper out of their inkjet printers and call it a photograph. They didn't make it. They simply reproduced it. There's little or no craftsmanship there.

    This is not to say that one should never eat a frozen dinner from the microwave or print a digi-pic with your computer. I do those things all the time but I keep them in perspective. It is convenient to do so and it is fun to see a picture only minutes after you download it from the memory card. Y'know what? Sometimes I'm tired or I don't have time to get out the pots and pans to cook a meal. I just need to eat something.

    While modern conveniences are important, I think it is more important for people to remember their sense of craftsmanship, their sense of ownership in what they do and their sense of self-worth. This is one of the top reasons I prefer traditional photography over digital.

    I am very happy to hear that this is important to you, as well! We need more people to understand this ethic, if not in photography, in whatever else they choose to pursue.

    I only hope your sense of pride will become contagious. Even if people don't take up photography, I would be happy if they took up woodworking, drawing, car repair or some other activity of their choosing.
     
  9. Jerevan

    Jerevan Subscriber

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    To view the results of the efforts made, be it the negative in your hand or the print on the wall - it's a fantastic feeling. Good to hear you found your way back, Christopher!

    And the horse looks fine, too. :smile:
     
  10. laboheme17

    laboheme17 Member

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    Looks great! That's awesome that you've made your own darkroom, been dreaming of doing that for years.
     
  11. ChristopherCoy

    ChristopherCoy Member

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    I think your entire post has got to be one of the best I've ever heard, and it so true. This will be one of those explanations that'll stick with me for sure. Thanks!
     
  12. ChristopherCoy

    ChristopherCoy Member

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    It doesn't take much. All together I've got about $300 or so in it. I stalked ebay for days... and i'm still stalking it for a few other things I'd like to have. I got a GraLab timer for less than $20, found a beginners enlarger for $50 on craigslist, and bought a few things new from Freestyle Photo.

    I set everything up in the bathroom at my studio and made it work. It was quick, down, and dirty, but it worked. As I spend more time working, I'll figure out ways to make things more comfortable and flow a little better.
     
  13. Henry Alive

    Henry Alive Subscriber

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    It looks great! Probably, it is. Congratulations and keep taking and printing B&W photos.
    Henry.
     
  14. lesm

    lesm Member

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    Christopher, you're where I'm aiming to be by the end of the year. Thanks for posting your results - it's inspired me and made me even more excited about setting up my own darkroom after years in the wilderness. Keep on!
     
  15. ChristopherCoy

    ChristopherCoy Member

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    Your welcome!

    I'm planning on spending a great amount of time in there this week sometime. I hope to create at least one 5x7 that I can mat and frame. I also need to get out and shoot some more film too!
     
  16. chassis

    chassis Member

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    Good work. Welcome back to the darkroom. I reconstituted my darkroom a few weeks ago after an 8 year absence.
     
  17. Stephen Prunier

    Stephen Prunier Subscriber

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    I think your print looks nice. I think most photographers feel their prints can always be tweaked more. I'm in the same position as you. I just picked up my first enlarger yesterday and I'm still a few things away from making my first print, but I'm psyched :D
     
  18. ChristopherCoy

    ChristopherCoy Member

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    Thanks Stephen! Good luck with your new dark room as well! It's turning out to be WAY more fun than I even remembered!