YouTube Video: The Lonely Art Of Film Developing Part I

Good day you hardcore camera geeks! Well, as you may or may not know, this summer I am concentrating on building our YouTube channel. As a result the written blog is suffering a little, but I have faith it will catch up. The content already written will always be there so I’m not too worried about it.

Today’s YouTube video focuses on “Lonely Art” of developing film, and in particular black and white film.

At home film developing has always been a labor of love for me although in recent years the stress is on the word labor more than love.

I had my first experience developing film in high school. I think we’re going back to 1986 or 1987! Anyway, as a young kid with no patience I think I was traumatized by my early failed efforts and I didn’t develop film again for many decades.

Besides, in the 1990s and early 2000s I focused more on color film which was easy to have developed at any “One Hour Photo.” Ironically, it’s harder to get your film developed today than it was then! I mean, yes, CVS or Walgreens will develop your film. They send it out actually. But you will NOT get your negatives back.

What you will get are either prints and/or a photo cd. This is the digital age and we actually live in an age where people print less. And I admit I’m guilty of viewing most of my photos these days on any number of devices, ie, computer, phone, tablet.

Anyway, when I reignited my love for b&w photography, I learned how to develop b&w film at home and I’ve been doing it now for about 11 years I’d say.

I’m no expert at it. And I don’t always follow the instructions to a tee but for the most part whatever I’ve been doing has worked for me.

Black and white film development basically involves three steps: Film developer, stop bath, and fixer. Agitation is what you do within these steps. Oh yeah, there’s a final rinse, and Photo Flo, etc, but it’s not as complicated as it sounds. Scanning is the after process. Your images actually become a hybrid digital/film thing.

A stop bath essentially “stops” the film developer from continuing to develop your film. You can use a store bought solution or use water. I use water. It gives me another 2-3 minutes of downtime where I have nothing to do but wait and get lost in my own thoughts.

Anyway, this video is NOT about how to develop film. And my film developing methods may be very different from yours. I learned a very imprecise method from an old pro. It’s may not be textbook but it worked for him and it works for me. I may make a video on that later but this video is about the “Lonely Art” of film developing.

I usually develop my film in lonely hours, well after midnight. By then it’s very dark and I don’t have to worry about damage to the film from the light or worry about anyone disrupting my workflow.

This video is about the solitary nature of developing film at home and all the downtime you have when developing film. And with that downtime, many things enter your mind. Thoughts and memories locked within the inner reaches of your brain are released. That is what this video series is about.

What do YOU do when you develop your film? Do you play music? Do you calculate your bills and expenses? Do you clean the bathroom tub? I’d love to know how you spend the time! Feel free to leave a comment.

Have a great day you great camera people and many thanks for watching and for your kind support!


3 thoughts on “YouTube Video: The Lonely Art Of Film Developing Part I

  1. Hey Sam! Glad to see you are still OK. We are all right up here in Dutchess County but this lockdown is getting real old. I enjoyed the video. I still have the little instruction set you sent me long ago. Never used it. Mrs B said no way. But it was interesting watching the way you agitate. I didn’t picture it that way. Keep posting and take care bro-sky. Hopefully when we come out of this, Dream Team. I saw Rad last week and he was asking for you.


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