This week we are excited to bring you a new installment from our series all about Stephen’s darkroom and soon to be darkroom. Sounds like a very unique set up! We’d love to see photos once the new kitchen darkroom is going! Thanks a lot, Stephen.
What is your darkroom? A room, closet or bathroom? Please tell us a bit about it.
My darkroom consists of two moving blankets on either side of my windowless bathroom door, for the time being. I have recently purchased some blackout fabric. The panels are going to be sewn together to create walls and are then going to be attached, floor to ceiling, with 2” Velcro around my kitchen. It will have everything I need in there. Ventilation (oven fan), Wet side (sink) and Dry side (counter space). Now I just have to figure out where I am going to do my cooking. Yes I live alone.
What’s your process? Tell us a bit about your developing routine, especially if it’s tricky.
My process is very standard. I use Paterson tanks and reels in 35 and 120 formats. I always pre-soak the film for 1 minute or so in 20.5-21C water then add my 20C developer. I agitate by inversion continuously for the first minute then 1 inversion every 30 seconds thereafter. My stop bath is also at 20C, continuous agitation for 1 minute and the fix is somewhere close to 20C, continuous agitation for the first minute and 1 inversion every 30 seconds thereafter again. The film is rinsed thoroughly in water. I then let it sit in a water bath for 10 minutes and repeat this step 3 times for a total of 30 minutes. I am trying to reduce the amount of water I use. Then hang to dry in my bathroom that I had a shower in to get any dust down.
I also stand develop film and love the results with this process. I will let it sit for 60, 90, 120 minutes, just for fun. I have even put borax in my developer at times and I am going to try using salt water with my developer as well just to see what happens.
I will cross process anything by stand developing.
What is your go to developer?
My go to developer is Blazinal. Love this stuff. I just purchased some Xtol and mixed that up the other day.
I will shoot a roll of 35mm film of 24 or 36 exposures, go in my darkroom and cut the film in half, put each half on a separate spool and process in different developers.
What is your all-time favorite Film/Film developer combo?
I haven’t figured that out yet.
I jump around with so many different combinations. I use Blazinal and Xtol, which I mentioned, as my developers and I shoot Ilford Pan F, HP5+ and Delta 100. In Kodak stock I use Tri X 400.
What result/look does this give?
So far the look that I am achieving with all these different combinations is just what I have been hoping for, Black, White and a bunch of different tones of grey.
I need to focus on one developer and one film for a while to find what really speaks to me. I am going to work with Blazinal, HP5+ and see what happens.
Have you tried any or are you into any alternative processes, such as cyanotype?
I have played around with the gum dichromate process and produced one piece from that. When the time comes I will do more of it but for now I am consumed with the B&W process.
What is the best processing tip you can give?
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Film is cheap and even mistakes are to be learned from. Experimentation keeps things from getting stale.
Don’t drink anything when you are in the darkroom!!!
Below is a sample of the Gum print Stephen tried out.