Passing along the love of film photographyPosted: May 15, 2015
My 13-year-old son just successfully developed his first two rolls of film. It has probably been close to 15 years since I developed my own film, so I had to do some research to refresh my memory on the whole process. I ordered chemicals from Freestyle Photo (Arista developer, stop bath, fixer, wetting agent, Kodak hypo clear). Once we mixed up chemicals, the process was so easy that I’m now excited to shoot some film and develop more.
He had shot the two rolls of Tmax on a recent vacation using my old Pentax K1000, after he told me he wanted to learn how to shoot film, develop and make prints. This K1000 was my first ‘real’ camera, a gift from my parents when I was a little older than he is now. I used it through high school, college and for many years after college until getting my first DSLR. It made the process even more meaningful to me by having him use that camera.
I taught him how to spool the film onto the metal developing reels, but I spooled these ones for him (inside a changing bag). That’s something that takes practice to get good at, and I didn’t want to risk these first rolls of film. Next time he can try spooling his own. I have one of those plastic spools that you rotate and it pulls the film onto the spool, but I don’t like the tank with that one, so I used the old stainless steel tank and spools. There’s kind of an art to spooling film on those metal reels, but once you get the hang of it, they work great.
His negs are now dried and hanging in the laundry room. It looks like he nailed the exposures very well, and has some good negatives to work with.
Our next step is to light-proof the laundry room and set up the enlarger to teach him how to print. It will be interesting to see how much patience he has for the printing process – and how much patience I have after being in the ‘digital darkroom’ for so many years.
I’m thankful that he wants to learn how to do this.