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  • Writer's pictureJames Wayling

Darkroom Practices and Analogue Printing

Grades and Exposure:

Link to Guide of Darkroom Printing:

Ilford Photo Presentation – May 13th 2018

Royal Photographic Society and Film Development: David Abberley

12th May 2018

David Abberley:

Harman technology LTD:

Products: Ilford – Black & White Film of Photographic Paper

Early History of silver halide

Original discoveries of silver nitrate and silver chloride darkening on the exposure to light

Optical Sensitisation.

What’s going on in a film?

  • Making emulsions - Mixing silver nitrate with KBr + KI

  • Growing AgBr/Agl crystals suspended in gelatin

  • Light Sensitive crystals photons reduce some of Ag/Br/I to silver (Latent Image) – Can be taken a long time

  • Develop Latent Image to Visible Light

  • Stop Bath – Changes pH to half development

  • Fixing Image still surrounded by undeveloped silver halide

  • Ammonium Thiosulpate reacts with Silver Halide to make it soluble

  • Good Techniques for Processing

  • Pre-Wet or not to Pre-Wet? Depends on the size of the film, removes the chemicals

  • Developer

Not less than 4 minutes

Constant Temperature – Can be unknown or unpredictable if longer

  • Experiment and explore the different use of chemicals – affected by the temperature, strength of chemicals

  • Recommended Developments Times

  • Company is cautious – But can be experimented on if curiosity is questionable

  • Agitation – Ilford method:

  • If continuous agitation in dish

  • Use Stop Bath – Preferably acidic, stopping the film from progressing

  • Fixer – Company suggested 2-5mins in Rapid 1+4

  • Rinse Aid – Ilfotol or other wetting agent Reduce Drying Marks

How’s your Water?

  • Hard Water – Final Rinse if the Water is too hard (maybe a softer feel towards its)

  • Reaction towards the Lomography Film is quite different:

  • Development is weaker and makes the film, less grainy and contrast need to use T-Max Developer

  • But with the Stop and Fixer, it is fine

  • Film Developing – Total Darkness

  • Develop – Stop – Fix – Wash – Rinse Aid

  • Film Developers different from paper developers Other Chemicals are common both

Which Developer?

  • Old Standards

  • ID11 (Kodak D-76)

  • Contain two developing agents and sodium sulphite

  • Do everything well

  • Fine Grain developer – less sharp

  • Powders – 5 year life Liquid – 2 years Un-use / Opened 6 or unpredictable months if longer

  • Books on developer: Can be unpredictable or different, affecting the edge of film – edge becomes more darker/becoming

  • Film Speed and Grain

  • Camera Speed and its measurement – Can affect the Image on the film – Density /log exposure plot

  • Sensitometric Plots Plot – Density/log exposure plot, changing the contrast of the plot. Pushing and pulling, dodging or burning techniques. Delta Speed can be different or unique with the type of film used or progress.

  • The Effects of increasing development time – Pushing and Pulling techniques

  • Reduce the developing times, more speed

  • Increasing the development, increases the density and contrast of the negative/film, can be unpredictable or different towards the quality of the film.

  • Different companies can explore the range of developing the imagery

Film Formats:

  • 135 or 35mm (Small Formats)

Most commonly used format

Loaded in light proof cassettes – easy to use

Perforated for transport in camera

  • 120 Roll Film (Medium Formats)

Larger Negatives = Better quality, bigger enlargements

Films spooled with lightproof wrapper

  • Sheet Film (Large Format)

Supplied as cut sheet on polyester bae

Ultra-High Quality

Technical camera’s for architectural and studio work

All testing and experimental printing are in the Photo-sketchbook

“Plus” Films

“Deltas” Films

Specialist Ilford Film – B&W Film which can be used within colour

Kentmere Films – Affordable Films

Darkroom Principles – A Camera in Reverse

Photographic Papers - Two or three grades (May be changed or turned multi-grade)

Cross – Printing: Experiment with the colour developer to create warm-tones colours onto the prints (if resin-coated)

Oils and Toning – FB or Warmtones

Paper – Emulsion Types

  • Fixed Grade Papers

Easy to use, no filters required

Good for fixed/controlled exposure, such as studio shots

Blue Sensitive

  • Variable Contrast (Multigrade)

Can produce full range of contrast from soft (low contrast) to Hard (High contrast)

Requires use of filters or colour or VC enlarger heads

Blue Green Sensitive

Developing Photographic Papers

  • If in film chemicals, can be different and odd textures

  • Can put other components.

  • Warmtone Paper can be affected

Selenium Tone

Effects of Film Type and Photographic Paper:

Presentation Slides of the Ilford Development – David Abberley (Printed in Sketchbook as well for addition influence and research of understanding film and printing – also toning)

Overall the presentation of the Ilford talk was quite interesting and amazing, due to the vase knowledge and experience given but the image developer, showing the true form of analogue photography as an art-form, demonstrating the mathematics and sciences within photography, which within my point of view is the true art of photography within analogue photography. Having that notion of art and professionalism needed in photography, both digitally and analogue based. Plus the talk also widen and push the perceptive of the amount of experience and knowledge the understanding of film and photographic paper is needed, being more respectable and careful with the material but still being creative and adventurous throughout the digital and analogue stages of photography; which could be the a good experience and knowledge to learn by.

Darkroom Practices – Toning

Tim Rudman: Practical Workshop on Print Toning

With this workshop, it demonstrated and display skills of editing prints with discreet colours and tones to add the grain, details or tones towards the print, which makes the photography work more artistic and mathematical throughout the process.

This could be explored or furthered within the art of portraiture project when finalising the different methods and ways to display the print in a softer tone of colour, maybe a unique way of creating a final print for exhibition or gallery usage which could be furthered within another project, career or process throughout the practices of analogue photography.

Overall, it was a refreshing and interesting topic to explore with resin-coated photographic paper but would have been more interesting and unique to see the fibre based getting tone and tested within the practice of darkroom/analogue photography

Tests and experiment are in the practical sketchbook of darkroom practices and analogue understanding.

Photographic Paper – Understanding the Fibre Based:

Difficult and challenging task due to the different material type it was compared to the resin coated photographic paper, being less sensitive and longer exposure when creating the prints (confusing seconds was needed, which was double the exposure amount).

Other problem was the contact with the chemicals, because the photographic fibre based photographic paper is quite similar to placing card paper into water and trying to take it out without damaging the paper or tearing it, being very dedicate and patience with the paper than normal photographic paper (resin-coated).

Was a practical understanding of the differences of resin coated photographic paper, due to being less sensitive and easier to control when transferring the print into the chemicals and wash. More research and practice must be done to understand and manipulate the fibre to my potential.

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