The Dark Room

Will Agar does a much better job explaining the process than I can. I have embedded his videos below. In general, make sure you pay close attention to the board behind you to note the appropriate times. Remember that Paper and Film differ immensely here.

The Dark Room

Your workflow with photography should be getting very comfortable now, so it’s time for us to play with film, which requires a very disciplined and particular workflow. You need to first extract the film, load it, develop it, enlarge it, then develop the paper.

(In the video above, ASA and ISO mean essentially the same thing.)

Once you’ve finished taking all your photographs, your camera will automatically whirr them back into the canister. This will be very audible. You can now safely open the camera with the small sliding button on the left side and extract your film. Here you can load the protruding edge of it onto the reel.

Load Film

For the next few steps, it is vital that you know where everything around you, as you will be doing everything in complete darkness. Turn off the lights and load the spool with the back and forth motion. Once the film is all loaded (try not to touch the surface), push the center of the reel over the cylindrical holder inside the developing tank, all the way down to the bottom. Add the top funnel portion such that it fits snuggly inside the cylindrical tube. Twist to lock. You can now turn on the light!

Develop Film

Develop your film with the times below, pouring the liquids into the trays or sink between each step, making sure to agitate efficiently and consistently throughout. Once your film has been rinsed with surfactant, hang it up to dry on the wooden beam with a pin.

Proof Sheet

Now it’s time to make a proof sheet. Cut your developed film into enough strips that they can be arranged to fit all on one page. Place them beneath a sheet of glass to flatten them out, then set your enlarger’s aperture and an exposure interval. When everything is ready, and you have on hand something to block the light like a box cover or a piece of cardboard, turn off the lights (save for the red light) and take out the paper – glossy side up. Place it lovingly in the defined space with the film above that and the glass on top of it all. Now cover up all but one row and hit the exposure button. Move your cover back to reveal another row and expose again. Repeat until you’ve finished the page.

You will develop the paper with the times below, using the rubber tongs and gloves and making sure to shake out the liquid back into the trays as best as possible before moving the paper from one vat to another. Once your paper has been fully developed, take it into the light and determine how long to develop the entire page for. Make another now, with no cardboard covering shenanigans.

Final Print

When you are ready to make a print, take your negative and load it into the plate. Each enlarger has its specific plate so make sure you are using the correct one. Load these negatives emulsion side down – that is the matte side down. Turn off the lights so that you can focus the image on the board. Don’t focus the image on the paper or else you’ll over expose it! Use the grain microscopes to adjust the focus until you can see the grain sharply, and mark out the space exactly. You will again use the cardboard exposure setup to make an exposure sheet before making your final print. Set this out to dry on the netted racks. You’re all done!

Developing Times

Film (Negatives) Paper (Prints)
Develop 9’ (Every 30” agitate 5”) 1’
Stop 30” 10”
Fix 10’ 2’
Rinse 25’ 4’
Surfactant 3’ ~


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