I had a camera in my hand on and off starting at age 4. Mom loved photography, and was very good about handing the old 110 camera over to me when I asked for it. There are hundreds of bad pictures scattered through the family picture collection. Most of them come from the hands of the two youngest members of the family. In high school, I jumped at the chance to take a “real” photography class.
I struggled through learning the various techniques, through learning how to compose a compelling image, and how to translate the cool thing my brain saw into an image others would enjoy. My favorite part was always the darkroom. Dinking around with rolls of film, the quiet and solitude of standing around in the dark, waiting patiently to see if something good showed up…this was the best part of the day.
After college, I eventually graduated to the world of digital. It was a great way to get back into photography after a layoff, without the expense of film. I built up a pretty impressive library over the past 15 years or so.
Recently, I stumbled across an article on stand developing. This got me interested in doing some of my own black and white developing again. So I picked up a few cheap rolls of film, jammed them into a camera, and started shooting. I’ve also started to develop some old rolls of film that I had kicking around from when I lived in DC.
Doing your own processing requires a little more focus. Stand developing is pretty forgiving of mistakes. But the process of getting your film ready for processing is much less forgiving. I’ve got old school metal reels, and they push you to be patient and use good technique. Poor technique means a bad load, and then bad, blotchy developing.
I’m having to force myself to slow down, and not cut corners. It’s by turns irritating, and incredibly useful. It’s making me work through a problem, not just throw up my hands and walk away.
I’ll start posting some of the experiments. I’m aiming to get at least 1 roll of something shot, and developed each week. It’s not a hard plan, more of an elective kind of idea. The biggest thing is I’m not pressing myself for perfect. I’m not going to get perfect with this technique. I’m learning to accept things as they are, not as I want them to be.