Film? what’s that?

The high school that The Teenager is attending in the fall is about to undergo a huge renovation.  I am not sure if a “real darkroom” will be in the new facility or if she will be able to take photography.  Photo I is an important part of high school in my opinion, especially slowly it all down in the darkroom, so I have taken it upon myself to teach her myself considering this is what I majored in at NYU.  I ordered a mixture of 120 and 35mm black and white film and started to get excited.  I do like Ilford products, but I have to admit I went with the cheapest on this occasion, because when a person is used to taking a million of digital pictures they can run through a roll of film damn quick.


Yes. you can learn too.


Our first lesson.


This is how we used to take selfies.  We used to have to precariously balance our camera on something if no tripod was available, adjust the aperture and shutter speed (blank faces) and then push up the self button, run around and get into the shot before the shutter is released.  Shutter? Yea. you know the noise your iphone makes when you have the sound on is a replication of an actual shutter that opens and closes when you push the button. (blank face and open mouth) COOL!

Second lesson.


The different kinds of formats, lenses and films. I confess I got a little excited about this and actually forgot to pick up The Associate from school for the first time ever. She did get home ok walking as she has been begging me to do for a while now, so I despite being a little worried, she was also empowered.

The Teenager asked me as I scurried panicked out the door to get The Associate. “Why would someone go through all that trouble?” Slightly irritated I said “It’s an ARTFORM!, I’ll drop my knowledge on someone else if you don’t want it.” she replied “Mom please drop your knowledge on me.”

This just might work!

Now if the rain ever stops we’ll go take some pictures and get busy in the darkroom. update soon!

cyanotype fun.

I didn’t realize that my bottomless pit actually extended 2 miles away to my mothers basement.  She was clearing out her ridiculously clean basement and unearthed these jugs.


Apparently they have been down there for at least 10 years. sorry mom.  Well anyway, I was about to delve in my hot mess that is my basement and drag out the scale and the powdered chemicals to whip up a new batch of “orange and green” ( these are not the technical names) Potassium ferricyanide just happens to be orange in its powder form and Ferric ammonium citrate is green, think edamame green. When the two are properly prepared and then mixed in equal parts they became light-sensitive, and are brushed on whatever porous surface you choose.  You can then put objects over the dried chemicals and expose to the sun and it creates a contact print of whatever your “negative” is.   I decided to do a test and the chemicals were still good!!! Saving myself a trip into the dungeon!!!!!  I used to use this process to make silk scarves and purses with elaborate stencils that I hand cut, or negatives I blew up in the darkroom or flowers.  I wish I could find the pictures of those things. annoying iphoto.  Anyway, the whole reason I started on this quest was to coat some paper and transport it up to the mountains so the small people could make prints with all the beautiful foliage.  As a side note this process was invented by John Herschel in 1842 and in 1843 Anna Atkins put it into practice by cataloging ferns, which is just what I intended to do.  However in typical scatterbrain fashion I did not test the light tightness of my container and several of the sheets were bad by the time we got there. On top of that I was sooooo lazy on this trip that we only made a few.


Using this high-tech method of lounge chair,  clips and a piece of glass to hold it all together we were able to angle our set up towards the sun.  After 12 minutes we rinsed in water and set out to dry.  I wish we had done more, because I think they are so pretty. There is always next year!!

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