Had a great day shooting, processing film and making prints during our all-day Analog Film Lab (@ the Bushwick Community Darkroom) this Wednesday. After a 45 minute shoot in the neighborhood, we learned to load film onto reels, something that requires a bit of practice because you have to perform this maneuver in total darkness.
Throughout the 8 hour class, we go through the whole darkroom process step-by-step, taking our time to make old school silver print enlargements and getting a feel for the hands-on process. Some stuff is pretty toxic, like these C-41 processing chemicals which must be handled with gloves in a well-ventilated space. Luckily we used black and white film, so the chemistry is a lot easier to deal with.
Darkrooms are evocative places. The constant sound of running water, and the dim lights and memorable smells are actually pretty hypnotic when you spend a long period of time there. It's a pretty decent alternative to binge-watching on Netflix, so you've also got that going for you.
Justin and Kelsey did a bang-up job at the manual 35mm capture stage... nailing the exposure on almost every frame (without the help of a LCD screen) which provided a lot of options for printing. The 45 minute challenge really forces you to focus on specific ideas or elements, and the simplified film bodies encourage a slower, more measured approach. They nailed it, making it much easier for them at the printing stage. Some pretty spot-on work... see for yourself!
Also, the vertical print washer has the best bubble patterns...
Prints on the dryer -- shot, processed and enlarged in a single day.
This is Kelsey, a nurse from Texas, with her favorite print of from today's class.
And this is Justin, a cinematographer also from Texas, with his.