For part of this assignment we were asked to take a collection of photographs under the title (us), this title lead me to consider ideas that I could relate to me and my house mates. Originally I focused the shoot around the people in the house, and the state we tend to leave it in. I took a first collection of photographs the day after a house party, with images capturing the aftermath, as well as some of my housemates looking rather worse for were the next day. I felt this was a good portrayal of (us) and are current life style.

These images were taken with a cannon EOS 650, with a 35-70mm lens, using 24x36mm ilford XP2 black and white film. After taking this first selection of images, I developed the negatives in the darkroom to create a contact sheet, this was done by cutting of the extra inch of the film that is blank, and loading it on to a developing reel, which involved opening the film capsule in complete darkness and placing it into the reel. The reel is then placed into a light-tight developing tank. At this point you can turn on the lights. I found working in the darkness rather hard, as this was quite a fiddely process.

Developer is then pored into the developing tank, which is mixed at a 1:3 ration of developer to chemical solution. My film had a seven minuet developing time, meaning it would be left in the developer for this duration. I timed this process and made sure to flip the tank and give it a slight shake every 30 seconds in order to agitate the film. After this process was complete I poured out the developer and used water as a stop, this was then agitated a couple of times over a 2 minuet period, before replacing the water with fix solution. This was agitated again every 30 seconds over a 4 minuet period. Finally I poured out this solution and a put a small amount of water in the tank, giving it a light shake to rinse off any left over fix. After emptying the tank and taking out my film I hung it in a heater for around 20 minuets to dry.

When my film was developed. I cut it in to segments allowing it to then fit into the clips on the easel, that hold the negatives in place on the glass panel. I then placed my photo paper in the easel and closed it. Ensuring my negatives were flat and fit on to the photo paper. I put this to one side, as I adjusted the enlarger to ensure the light would flood around the whole film. Next I adjusted the focus of the light in order to ensure it was sharp.

Before continuing I set up the developer, stop and fix trays in order to place my contact sheet in when finished with the enlarger.

I set the time to five seconds on the enlarger, then covered up the majority of the easel with a piece of card, leaving one horizontal strip exposed to the light when I turned it on. Each time I turned on the light I moved the card across by one frame, exposing more of the film. When all the film had been exposed, over various time periods I took out my photo paper and placed it into the developer. I gently tilted the tray every few seconds, to ensure the whole paper was being covered by solution. This was done for one and a half minuets, its was then moved into the stop for 30 seconds, before finally placing it into the fix for around 3 minuets. After this stage was complete I put the photo paper through the drier.

Once this was complete it allowed me to gage the right exposure time for my film. As each vertical strip had been exposed for different time periods, it left me with a scale to see what looked best, with the over exposed images appearing too dark and the under exposed images appearing too light on the contact sheet. I judged that the best exposure time would be 6 seconds and then repeated this process after adjusting the timer, although this time I didn’t use card to expose the film at different times. Instead I let the light hit the whole of the easel exposing it all for 6 seconds.

There was a variety of images I was happy with on this contact sheet, although due to time scales I did not feel I had enough time to enlarge, and complete the process of developing my final images. Due to the time difficulties, I choose to go and buy a new roll of Ilford XP2 super 400 C41 black and white film. The difference between this and my original film is that it is chromogenic film, allowing it to be developed in standard colour negative chemistry, meaning I could have it developed at retailers such as Jessops.

This time round there was no house party aftermath to focus my shoot around, although the house was still extremely messy. The boys had been away for the weekend, and contrary to many opinions regarding girls being generally tidier than us guys, it was the girls that had turned the clean house we had left, into a disgraceful mess, with half eaten take aways, dirty dishes and empty wine bottles littered throughout.

Basing my shoot on the mess that had been left, fit with my original idea, so using the same camera, I took more photos with the new film. I chose to use 400iso film, as there is relatively dim lighting in the living room and kitchen of my house and I planned to take my photographs later in the evening, after it had gone dark. This is what I did originally and found that the sharpest images on my contact sheet were ones taken with slightly more lighting. Taking this in to account during the shoot, I took the photos and the dropped them of at Jessops to be developed the next day. Upon retrieving my pictures I selected one image to be enlarged to 10×8. This was the final image I chose to present, backed on a wooden board I bought from Wilkinson’s.

I am happy with my final images although would be interested in seeing how the original shoots negatives, would have turned out if I had continued to develop them my self. Therefore I may return to the dark room when I have a little more time and continue the process to see what I end up with.

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