My First Time in the Dark Room :)
Dark Room, as in the room where photographers developed their films and print their photos.
After two weeks, I had another tumblr meetup and this time I got to meet some cool people from Shutter Revolution, a group of analog photography enthusiast. I was very excited because it was my first time to use a black and white film. But the real highlight of the meetup was we got to experience developing films and print it in a dark room on our own! Before, I just see dark rooms in movies or television. We recalled a popular Thailand horror movie in particular.
(scenes from the movie “Shutter”)
In the advent of digital technology, the old practice of processing photos obviously faded away. I almost thought it’s extinct and would never see it anymore. But all thanks to teooooo for giving us a very rare opportunity. He welcomed us to his own dark room and patiently demonstrated anything we need to know. Again, thank you very much teooooo. (Damn! I can’t put a tumblr link again. So I’ll paste it here http://teooooo.tumblr.com/. Follow him!)
Screenshots and Random thoughts (As I remember it)
*The first activity was a photowalk at Marikina Riverbanks and Loyola Memorial Cemetery. I brought “Lucky SHD 100” because it was the most inexpensive black and white film I found in Hidalgo. It costs me P220.00 for 36 shots. Others used more expensive films like Neopan and Kodak TX. Later I found out that it is very important to know why we should remember the brand of the film we used. First reason, its the quality. As they say, the quality of photos from Lucky is not that good with the results of Neopan and Kodak TX. It’s more sensitive to process too. The second reason,which is more important, different kinds of films requires different concentrations of chemicals and different duration of time to process it correctly So it’s very important to know the films at heart.
*Introducing the dark room! These are some equipments we used. I would not describe the whole process of developing as I’m still not in the position to do so. (I think I need to review :P) But one thing is for sure, I realized that you don’t have an extravagant tiled room for you to have a dark room. Teo said that as long as the room has a sink and a generous supply of water, it could be used as a dark room. Also, you need to secure the room from light leaks. He himself admitted that his dark room is not lightproof enough. He had to wait for nighttime to start printing here. For more security, he used black tarpaulins as additional covering to the windows and the doors to seal it from outside.
*One word that sticked with me was the word “agitation”. It means putting into motion by shaking or stirring, often to achieve mixing (source: wikipedia). You’ll do lot of that when developing the film. You see the black container over a white cloth above? It is called developing tank. This is where you’ll submerged your film in a mixture of chemicals and then do a lot of “agitation”. It’s not simple mixing because you need to have good timing to do that. You should precisely know when, how long ,when to stop and when to do the agitation again. It is a very crucial process that Teo even has an application for that. And that is why you can see an Itouch here. It’s really a part of the equipment.
I was very nervous when I do the agitation of my films. I lost count and I accidentally reset the app in the Itouch. When I did that, I felt like something inside me died. I thought my films was destroyed. But I just moved on. I almost had heart attack when the process was finally over. Thankfully, I saw images in the film. Whew! the joy of expecting worst that didn’t happen at all!
*Now, this was the most exciting part. Teo let us choose one of our shots and have it printed on a photopaper. Once the light was turned off, everyone was prohibited from entering the room. The following photos are captured just before the printing process. As you can see, only that red light is allowed. According to what I’ve read just now, the film is configured to read red as black so the film reacts to red light in the same manner as it does to no light at all. But it’s only for black and white photography.
This is the shot I chose. I took it during our photowalk in Marikina Riverbanks. It is a picture of a boy sitting alone on a window of a big house. He crossed arm his arm to cover his face for unknown reason. I was struck when I saw him. For me, he looks sad and isolated.
Photos are dripping wet after multiple submersion to chemicals and water.
Ahem the result …
The boy didn’t came out clearly because probably I counted too slow. Seriously I don’t know how to properly count a second after a second. As a result, it was overexposed. But who cares, I still love it. The experience is truly rewarding.
Before I end this post, I wanted to show you this amazing painting. And yes, the artist is none other than Teo, our master for that day. Kuya Robert (the man behind ohgirlursogoodman.tumblr.com and the man in this picture) commented that Teo is 3D. I don’t know what it exactly means but my idea is a person who exceptionally good in different areas of visual arts.Anyway, Teo admited that this painting is a self-portrait.and goes with the title “Orgasm”. or “Big O” (which one is correct Teo?)
@Photos by:Bernadette Garcia
@Photo Session Facilitator:Teo Esguerra
@Join Shutter Revolution!