Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Darkroom workshop

Recently I attended a classic black&white darkroom technique workshop, where I learned all steps that must take place between taking the exposed film out of the camera and holding your picture in your hands on photo paper. On the first day we went out, exposed a roll of film and loaded it in the darkness into a developing spiral that went into a developing tank.

On the next day, the developed rolls were already waiting for us. We produced a contact print of all pictures taken and selected one to be enlarged. In this process we learned all about adjusting brightness and gradation and produced many copies of the selected picture, just to see how different the results can be by changing time of exposure or by using coloured filters.

This was my picture, taken with a Rolleiflex Old Standard 621 on medium format film.

(Rolleiflex Old Standard 621, Rollei Retro 400S, printed on Ilford Multigrade paper)

And this is another version, with much stronger gradation, that our teacher produced just as an experiment, as she rightly tought it would fit better with the mood of my picture.

dunkelkammer 1
(Rolleiflex Old Standard 621, Rollei Retro 400S, printed on Ilford Multigrade paper)

From the whole experience the step that astounded me the most, every single time I did it, was to immerse the exposed photo paper into the developing bath and see the picture emerge in the reddish dim light of the darkroom. The picture, that was first just an idea, then a temporary image on the viewfinder, finally appearing before the photographer's eyes, after having been latent on film and then revealed first as a negative image, exposed again with the enlarger and then being latent again, this time on photographic paper.

Manny thanks to Natascha Auenhammer from Zebra Labor for spreading her know-how and guide us through the reddish darkness of darkroom work.

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