I got bit by the RA-4 reversal bug a few weeks back, diving deep into chemistry, filtration, processing, and rinsing (more on the rinsing a bit later). The RA-4 development process is used to produce a color print on (you guessed it) color paper in the darkroom. In this article, I cover my RA-4 reversal […]
Find all of EMULSIVE’s darkroom-related articles right here, including advice on technique, process, gear, and building your own darkroom and tools.
How-to: Shoot Fujifilm Instax on a Polaroid BigShot
Released in 1971, the Polaroid Big Shot was a funky, green plastic camera built for one thing: portraits. The plastic behemoth is simply designed, using a fixed focus 200mm, single-element plastic meniscus lens. The grip has a stereoscopic rangefinder integrated in it, which makes framing and achieving focus easy. The focus point is fixed at […]
Making trichromes with Solarfast dye: A cheap and fast alternative to gum bichromate printing??
Last year, while browsing in my excellent local art supply store, I noticed the rack of Solarfast dyes from Jacquard. It was there with their cyanotype supplies and I was fascinated to learn that it is a photosensitive dye that acts like cyanotype sensitizer but is available in a wide variety of colors. Above: My […]
Shooting 21st-century 5×7 Zebra Dry Tintypes in a 19th-century Radiguet Tailboard Camera
In November of 2020, during a peak in the pandemic, a neighbor posted a series of photos to a local Facebook “Buy Nothing” group of a large number of unwanted household items she had put out on the curb for anyone to come by and help themselves to. In one photo, sitting on a table, […]
How-to: Develop paper negatives “out and about” with a field development kit – by Jim Skelton
After I learned a bit about using my Polaroid camera to take pictures on paper negatives, I made up a little kit that included a Polaroid camera, tripod, a dark box with paper negatives loaded into empty film cartridges, and a changing box in which I could swap out the cartridges as I took pictures. […]
Found film: “EXPOSED. Tri-X. APOLLO 11” or, developing film shot on July 20, 1969, ~20:17 UTC
I like collecting old film as much as I like collecting old cameras. So, when I came across an auction for an interesting film container and exposed film from Europe, I bid on it…and I won.
My Quest to make art for the living room wall – Part 2: Paper negatives
In part 1 of my Quest to make art for the living room wall, I went over the process I use to make black and white 8×10 prints in the darkroom. I want to make bigger prints though — 16×20 and bigger. Although silver gelatin darkroom paper is available in big sizes (especially if you’re […]
EMULSIVE’S most popular darkroom-related articles of 2021
Here’s listicle #2 for this year, and it’s 100% focused on the darkroom. From pricing your prints to cyanotype printing or building a camera, this list has you covered…the list goes on. Darkroom and darkroom-related work continues to increase through our community as more and more photographers find themselves coming back to traditional film development […]
Benefits of ample exposure in black and white film photography: Or, let there be light
Detail of a component on one of the very few operating steam locomotives in the United States, Oregon Rail Heritage Center, Portland, OR. Hasselblad 503CX, Zeiss Planar f3.5 100 mm. Kodak T-MAX 100 developed in HC-110.
Elevating the humble cyanotype…with a UV-enlarger!
I’ve been shooting black and white film for over 18 years, and since a few years ago, I have had my own darkroom set up in the basement. I love to do some uncomplicated printing on RC paper every now and then. When I built my own XPan-format panoramic camera, I was confronted with a […]
My Quest to make art for the living room wall – Part 1: Iterating contact prints
In this article, I talk about my progress so far on my quest to make art for the living room wall. In this, part 1, I cover making an initial contact print, and through my process of iterating test prints to a “final” outcome. I put “final” in double-quotes because, well, you’ll see! I hope […]
Building an 8×10″ wet plate “Lockdown Camera”
It must have been getting close to Christmas 2019 when I first started to sketch the rudimentary designs of what would become my first homemade wet plate camera. I’d previously built an Afghani Box Camera for my friend and fellow wet plate photographer, Simon Riddell, so I had some sense of how to go about […]
How I transformed cyanotype prints into a video for Vivienne Westwood
Cyanotype — also known as the “blueprint” or “sunprint” process, among other names — is a photographic process that has been practiced by photographers for ~180 years. Through the magic of combining two chemicals — ferric ammonium citrate and potassium ferricyanide — you can produce a striking blue image in a matter of moments. Coated […]
It all comes out in the wash: a cheap DIY print washer for darkrooms without water
I left an essential item off of the shopping list for my sub-$500 darkroom article: the print washer. As much as I am very proud of my less-than-$500 basement darkroom, it is a dry darkroom. I’m lucky, the water pipes are visible in the exposed ceiling, and plumbing parts are relatively inexpensive. I could run some plumbing and […]
Pricing your work: Economies of print, or “assigning worth when value is subjective”
When looking back on my photographs, even as “recently” far as 2019, I feel an abstraction in what my role in these images ought to be. In the moment of pressing the shutter, I feel I am the photographer, I have taken this picture.
Northern Sustainable Darkroom: A green revolution for analogue photography
I stand at the edge of the forest, my dilapidated Canon in hand. Mist rises from the trees, as two pigeons snap their wings in hasty exit. A path snakes ahead, deep into the wooded dark. Raising my camera, I peer through the scuffed lens. I hold my finger to the shutter, waiting for the […]
My new portrait project: “Inspired”, passionate artists and a 145-year-old Dallmeyer 3B 290mm f/3 Portrait Petzval lens
I have been looking for this historical artwork for some years – a useable Dallmeyer 3B Portrait Petzval 290mm f/3 lens made during the 70s — the1870s. Finally, I got it (with some help). The lens is at the heart of my project, “Inspired”, which will be published in a book — you can register […]
Announcing the new 35mm & 120 format Intrepid colour Enlarger: coming March 19th 2021
News just in from the folks over at Intrepid Camera: a new model of their Intrepid Enlarger that can make colour and black and white darkroom prints from 35mm and 120 format film (up to 6×9!) According to the folks at Intrepid, the new enlarger comes after “more than a year of extensive testing, designing […]
My approach to Rodinal semi-stand film development
My film development workflow shifted in 2020 and became almost entirely based around semi-stand methods. Previously I had used ILFORD DD-X and taken great care over timings and chemistry – including for stand dev, but as I’ve found more of my projects start to come together I have not been able to dedicate myself in […]
Seasonal Reflections of an Analogue Photographer
“It’s Christmas Theo, it’s the time of miracles”Hans Gruber, Beloved Christmas Terrorist Christmas is a piece of family-orientated theatre, rich with idiosyncratic traditions that only exist within our own eccentric little bubbles, along with the shared, large scale infectious hysteria of a nation psyching itself up for some overly indulgent festive respite. The glittery extravagances […]