5 Frames… With ILFORD HP5 PLUS (EI 400 / 35mm format / Zenit E) – by Xochitl Elvira

These five frames are very special to me because are part of the very first black and white roll that I developed for myself. I started the roll in my house taking some portraits of my partner and after I went out and walked around my house in the morning with my trusty Zenit E and Helios 44-2 58mm f/2 lens, searching for nice geometry in the buildings and interesting stills to photograph

I couldn’t avoid taking some self-portraits in mirrors I found along the way. After about two hours the roll was finished and ready to develop. I went to my darkroom and I have to confess I was very nervous because was the first time developing! After putting the roll inside the tank, I carefully measure the quantity of developer I had to use.


The recipe was the well-known HC110 dilution B (1+31) for 5 minutes. With music and a lot of faith I started the process, enjoying the smell of the chemistry and making agitations from time to time.

I love imperfections, so when I saw the photo of my little dog almost cut in half by the end of the roll I fell in love (again) with film photography.

My expectations for future DIY development is to push film. I would love to try ILFORD HP5 PLUS at EI 1600 and shoot some concert and night photography here in my town. I truly enjoy the grain and a very contrasty photograph. It will be amazing to create by myself!

~ Xochitl

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This series is produced in conjunction with Hamish Gill's excellent 35mmc.com. Head on over to read the other half of these stories there.

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Xochitl Elvira
Xochitl Elvira
Xochitl Elvira is a Mexican visual artist using film photography and mixed media techniques to make tangible her vision. She likes cactus, make crazy film soups and collect cameras (for not saying she's a camera junkie.) Her favorite films are Ektachrome and Portra 400.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. I’ve just processed my first roll off film since the early 1980s! After an alarming 5 mins while my fingers relearned how to put a roll of film in the developing tank it all went ok

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