Make your own black and white pictures A darkroom, 20th century
Learn to develop black and white photos in a darkroom
It’s easy to forget that before digital photography took off in the mid-1990s, there was a long time between snapping your photo and finding out what it actually looked like when it was developed.
Developing and printing film required a chemical process that could easily go wrong if you muddled up your timings or even just exposed the film to natural light. Colour photography was particularly complicated and Kodak built its empire on the motto ‘You press the button, we do the rest,’ allowing customers to send film cartridges to their factories to be processed by professionals. This job was later taken up by chemists worldwide.
However, black and white photography was more straightforward and both professional and amateur photographers often developed and printed their own pictures in darkrooms.
Watch the clock
Both the film development and printing processes have to be carefully timed, so make sure you have a clock handy.
hang me up to dry
You’ll need somewhere dust-free to dry your film reels and your final prints. This doesn’t have to be in a darkroom.
To make sure you don’t destroy your film the moment you remove it from its cartridge, make sure you have a red light.
enlarge your pictures
This device, which burns a large-scale image from your negative onto printing paper, has been in use since the 1860s.
You’ll need developer to make the image appear, stop bath to stop development, and fixer to make the image permanent.
Cut the film
Once you have developed the film, you can cut out each image and discard any pictures you don’t want to keep.