Negative and Positive; the Black & White Experience.

For many years, a crucial part of my photographic process was quite literally the chemical processing of my black & white negatives.

Having loaded film onto reels in darkness, and spent 25 minutes to an hour pouring fluids into and out of tanks, there would be a moment of truth . . .

Often the film will have held latent image from expeditions far and wide. Here were moments captured on silver halide, but until this second never before seen.

As I opened the tanks, I’d be wondering, ‘What was on the film?’

Did I capture what I was hoping too? Were my exposures correct?

I peel off the film from the reels dripping wet and hold them to the light.

The negatives would tell me in an instant what I wanted to know.

The image that I'd see dripping from wash water was something like this. Did I have it? Was this worth printing? Maybe . . .
The image that I’d see dripping from wash water was something like this. Did I have it? Was this worth printing? Maybe . . .

Then came the arduous, but necessary steps of drying, sleeving, and then, if I got to it, printing the negatives.

Sun streams through the clouds as an eastward SBB train glides through the station at Visp, Switzerland in June 2001. Exposed on 120 size black & white film using a Rolleiflex Model T.
Sun streams through the clouds as an eastward SBB train glides through the station at Visp, Switzerland in June 2001. Exposed on 120 size black & white film using a Rolleiflex Model T.

Learn more about how I processed film: Black & White revisited; Old Tech for a New Era part 2—Secrets Revealed! 

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