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Thread: Doomsday Book?

  1. #1

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    Doomsday Book?

    Reading the thread on homemade D-23 made me start thinking about last-ditch scenarios for film processing; what do we do when it all goes bad?

    It may just be a fun exercise, but I wonder if it would be worthwhile to write a "Doomsday Book" of photographic formulas for emulsion making, paper making and processing made from (now) commonly availalble chemicals?

    Kind of the "Anarchist Cookbook for Photographers", only we don't blow ourselves up in the process...

    Just a thought...

  2. #2

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    The various books on photochemistry, such as The Darkroom Cookbook and The Film Developing Cookbook already serve this purpose for chemistry. There was a thread about this a few months ago, and most or all of the common chemicals that go into developers are used in other industries for other purposes. Some are commonly available to consumers (e.g., sodium carbonate, ascorbic acid). As a worst-case scenario, you'd need to track down an unusual supplier for components like phenidone or metol, which today we buy from photographic suppliers like Photographer's Formulary or Art Craft. Of course, if traditional photography were to decline to the point that all such places went out of business, I suspect there'd be very little market for such a book, even free on the Internet. The main thing to add to existing books would be formulas that use nothing but what might be called "supermarket chemistry" -- things that can be bought at supermarkets, drug stores, hardware stores, etc. This would be developers like Caffeinol and Parodinal. Tips on where to buy other ingredients, such as sodium thiosulfate, might also be useful.

    Emulsion making is another matter, and I gather a much tougher one to tackle. I know that people like PE do coat their own papers today, so it is do-able. I've never looked into it in great detail, though.

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    Check out "Primitive Photography" by Alan Greene (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/024...lance&n=283155). He goes through how to make cameras, film and print paper. Maybe the results aren't as sharp as commercial products, but using very simple, available materials he makes some pretty good photos.

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    What Terence said.

    Seriously, even if you never build a thing that Alan Greene describes, the book is a fascinating read. I learned more about emulsions than I'd ever known. I did a lot of optical work in college, so I thought that the section on lenses would be wasted on me...but even that was a great read.

    If you already have LF equipment, you could use Greene's recipes for negatives and contact printing paper if you had to...sometimes it's nice to know there will always be options.

    Be well.
    Dave
    Film is cheap. Opportunities are priceless.

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    The name is more properly Domesday Book as it has nothing to do with doom. The Domesday Book is merely a record of everything of value in England in 1086. After the conquest William wanted to know what he now possessed. In no way was it some sort of survivalists guide as the title of this thread implies.

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    DBP
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    There is an excellent novel by Connie Willlis entitled Doomsday Book, however.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DBP
    There is an excellent novel by Connie Willlis entitled Doomsday Book, however.
    So she got it wrong too. ;-)

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    Thanks Terence and all others who responded; I had not heard of this book!

    Looks great!

    Frank

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    Silverprint in London are doing something similar for emulsions:

    http://www.silverprint.co.uk/Emulsion/Emu_menu.html

  10. #10
    DBP
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gerald Koch
    So she got it wrong too. ;-)
    Not at all. Her title is a play on words of the actual Domesday Book and the plot of the novel.



 

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