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March 21, 2010


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hooray!! i feel like we're getting a behind the scenes peek at a magic show!


Thanks so much for this (and future)tutorial posts. I've always wanted to get into self-development for black and white but had no idea where to even start (I kick myself for not taking the time for a photography class during all. these. years. of school!). This should be very useful and may give me that push to try something new!

One request though...as I live in a very small town in the middle of nowhere (about 2.5 hours from an actual 'city'), I'd have to buy materials online. Could you share any online shop(s) you recommend or have purchased from before? Also, I know you work with 120 film now, but do you have a 'favorite' 35mm black and white film? It's hard to find much besides the stuff that can be developed as if it's color...which I don't particularly care for. Thanks Claire!

Mary de B

I haven't done darkroom stuff for a decade, but one thing you abbbbsolutely need is a properly ventilated room! I found those chemicals would give me a headache every time. I love the idea, and I really like the whole printing process, but couldn't hack the fumes!


Yeah! I LOVE this tutorial! I can practically smell that darkroom smell.


I am very intrigued to see how this works! I always thought setting up a home darkroom was a huge process. I might give this a try with my old film camera. I'm having flashbacks to the Brady Bunch episode with their home lab.


hi all!
Thanks for the feedback and I thought I should reply here, in case this might be helpful to more of you.
1. Let me clarify (sorry I didn't do that before) that this self-developing process is only to develop negatives. To actually print negatives into photographs you'd actually need a darkroom. The nice thing about developing your own negatives is that you can scan them and create digital images that way, or you can always pick and choose your favorites to be developed in a lab (or by yourself, if you happen to have darkroom access)
2. As for film, personally I think that you really can't go wrong with Kodak Tri-X. That is pretty much exclusively what I've used so far. It's very readily available in photo stores, quite cheap and also very forgiving in terms of exposure. Ilford HP5 is also very good and standard, as is TMax (also by Kodak)
3. As for websites, I have the luxury of living in NYC where we have some of the most amazing photo stores-- but all of them have online versions so I can certainly recommend them:
My favorite: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/
or there's http://www.adorama.com/
One of my photo professors also recommended this to me: http://www.freestylephoto.biz/index.php

Hope that helps!

Tricia Vetrone

Thank You..I have beeen looking for this simple type of basic information on developing. I have some experience from high school and college photography classes but have forgotten most of it. I just needed a brief refresher course. This is perfect.

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