On Thursday I went into the Victoria building for a Darkroom induction. It was a necessary requirement for me to use the facility. I don't mind, and I'm not reporting that in a negative manner, in fact it was enjoyable and I truly believe that we all can do with a re-cap now and then. Anyway I had two rolls of Ilford HP 5 to develop, I wasn't going to print as I didn't have the time.
I soon found myself in a darkened closet with films ahead of me, tools to the side and developing tank ready. It had been several years since I've done this, and it's something that I'm used to.. but today it was like a new experience, a beginning something completely different.. had I become so dependent on digital had I'd forgot Photography's roots? Well sure enough I fiddled and cursed as it took me a while to find the start of the spool. After a little thinking and stopping I'd loaded two reels, and made the tank light tight.
I'll not bore the reader with the process, but the one distinct memory was that feeling of trepidation, would it work, did I get the temperature right? had I agitated enough, did I time it correctly? well sure enough after nearly half an hour my worries had passed... negatives lay in front of me, I cut then and filed them (rather rashly I'll add) onto my studies!
And today I revisit them. One of the many treasures of processing. It's not all about rushing and instant results. I thought I'd write a quick blog about the darkroom, and to illustrate the negs were in a bag on the living room floor. I grabbed both and placed them on a light box. I thought a quick image to capture, and post along with the blog. However through the processing element of Photoshop, I toyed with 'invert' command, and gained a instant result. It made me think what a possible project this created.
I have taken carefully crafted images, tentatively processed them, filed them with abandonment and cheapen the images with a snap and quick post production. Does this then produce a disregard for photography, the once revered negative, protected from dust, light and scratches now tossed to one side. The framed composed images exposed perfectly, sullied by a quick snap piled onto each other creating an abstract image, than once 'inverted' provides corners and glances of what once was?
Or is it just a pile of negatives bunched together on a lightbox?