How to

Make your own black and white pic­tures A dark­room, 20th cen­tury

All About History - - CONTENTS -

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.

Dark­room con­di­tions

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.

Chem­i­cal treat­ment

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.

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