It's been a while.
I've recently gotten into black and white photography- and not the easy "take a digital picture with your awesome new DSLR and edit it in iPhoto so it's black and white" way, but the old fashioned "use strictly b&w film in your dad's 30 year old completely manual camera" way. I swore by the first way a year ago but now I'm in love with the old-fashioned way. I have complete control over my shots- I decide how long the shutter stays open, how wide the lens opens- all me.
Today, I got another glimpse at how amazing that control over my photos is. Not only do I control how the image is taken, I can develop it- control how much light reaches the print, how contrasted it is- it's amazing. Today was my first day developing in the lab. I had to check out equipment- an enlarger (number 3 is mine), lens, filters for contrast, and a negative holder, among other things. I focus the image, use a test strip to find out how long I want to expose the paper to light and begin the developing process.
After I've turned on the light and exposed the paper to the image- I take it to the developer, place it in the liquid and give it "constant gentle agitation for 90 seconds." The best part of the 90 seconds happens between the 7th and 9th second- the white sheet of photo paper melts into an image, my image, a photo I took (like the one of Aidan, just above this. One second, nothing, and the next... I can see this one moment in time that I happened to capture on film. Nothing feels like it. I created that. I made it exactly what it is, and I couldn't be prouder.
My day was a little hectic at first. The first image I developed was nearly perfect which surprised me, I didn't think I would get it on the first try- no one else did. I showed my professor and she said I was free to go. We'd been in class for 45 minutes and had a little over 2 hours in the lab left, until the lecture at 5. So I picked up my film and came back to develop my own images. I spent 2 hours in that lab- testing the light, using different filters... creating images of people I love out of nothing at all. After a while, everyone had finished their images and had gone but I stayed. I had my iPod, the gentle tones of Andrew McMahon, Flyleaf, and The Shins to keep me company. I can't explain how wonderful it felt- being alone in a huge lab- I could have developed till I dropped... and I did. And I felt full, accomplished. It was a good day to be alive.
5 years ago