Getting [Back] Into Film Photography
There is no doubt that digital photography is great. I mean it has color and effects and photoshop and instant editing. Every few days or so they come out with a better camera, a sharper lens, and a better printer. Or maybe photography has not been more involved for you than an iphone and instagram. There is a whole different world of photography out there. I am talking about film photography and wet darkroom printing. I am going to limit myself to black and white, not because it is impossible to make color images in a darkroom. I did that for many years before digital imaging was invented. Color however actually looks really great in digital, and little can be gained by purchasing equipment needed to process color film and paper. You can do this, and don’t let my opinions disuade you from doing this. Some of those who explore this old world craft are making incredible images and having a great deal of fun and learning a great deal.
I am writing this now because the time is approaching when film and paper and chemistry may be difficult to obtain. There is a resurgance in film photography occuring right now, and there is no telling for how long this may continue. In fact some of the equipment you may want to buy such as cameras and lenses, which a few years ago were being given away have taken on some value so buyer beware as they say.
So then, how do we begin to explore the black and white darkroom process? The good news is that if you already have a digital camera, you won’t need to but a film camera to make prints. You can actually make negatives from digital images to start out. This assumes you have access to a photo quality inkjet printer, but you could have someone print them for you. At any rate the method is fairly straight forward. Take the image you want to work with into photoshop and convert it into a nicely toned black and white print. Then invert the image to make a negative. Adjust the levels to make sure you don’t have any expanses of completely white areas. Print at photo quality on a sheet of transperancy film. Make your print about 5×7 or so. There you have a negative without even using a film camera… Read more about how to make a print from this [or any other negative] in the next article