Yesterday (Tuesday 02-02-2021) I finally made my first ever darkroom prints. After having gathered all the necessary equipment, and procrastinated for three months, I pulled myself together and assembled my makeshift darkroom in the bathroom and got to work.
The process wasn’t entirely smooth as I first had to figure out a solution to my enlargers vignetting problem. You see, when I set up my Durst M601 enlarger for printing 135-format film it creates a heavy vignette even though I have all the correct components installed. Growing increasingly frustrated I started to experiment and finally found a working solution. Apparently setting up the enlarger for printing 120-format film solves the vignetting problem, even when printing 135-format film. I don’t understand why this works but it does.
So after getting that problem out of the way I could start printing. I chose three photographs from my portfolio and printed them on 5×7” Ilford Multigrade RC Deluxe paper with satin finish. First making test prints to figure out correct exposure times and then making the final print. I had to take frequent breaks because of poor ventilation caused by me covering the door with a piece of blackout textile to keep out stray light. When I was done printing I packed up my darkroom and assessed the results of the session. The prints turned out okay, but considering my inexperience I was quite happy with the results.
Printing my own photographs was fun and seeing the image appear on the paper during development is really satisfying. This is something that I am definitely going to do more off in the future.
So. I made a discovery and made some mistakes with a roll of expired film I shot. But for you to understand, I have to give you some background details.
In November 2020 I bought a Pentax ME from my local second hand store with an expired roll of Kodak TMax 400 still inside. Right before I discovered the film I had made two exposures in the store to see if the camera worked. So with the film counter only showing two pictures taken I thought I had gotten a free roll of unexposed film. According to the cardboard piece in the memo holder the film was put in the camera on January the 2nd, 2004.
I have a fascination with found film and the mystery surrounding their previous owner. I have read about others who found old rolls of film in analogue cameras and developed them to find pictures of peoples and places from a different time and I hoped that one day I could do the same.
So I couldn’t contain my excitement when I found an old roll of Kodak Tri-X Pan in a Zeiss Ikon Nettar 515 I purchased from a local second hand store. Who could have owned this camera before me? Maybe a photojournalist from years gone by? Or maybe just an amateur photographer like myself. I don’t know how old this roll is and I haven’t been able to find any information either on the backing paper or on the internet.
Book title: Aqui, tan lejos (Original title: Here, far away)
Author: Pentti Sammallahti
Translation: Remedios Diéguez Diéguez
Page count: 254
Release date: 2012
When starting with analog photography in 2019 I didn’t know much about anything. After getting a grasp on the basics I started visiting photographic exhibitions to study the works of others. One of those resonated with me in a way that is hard to explain. That exhibition was ‘Distant Lands’ by the finnish photographer Pentti Sammallahti. When passing through the gift shop a photo book caught my eye. It was made by the same photographer whose images had just captured me a moment ago and after flipping through its pages I felt that I had to have it. Unfortunately the price was too high for me at the time, especially after some camera and lens purchases that I had made earlier. And so, with a heavy heart, I left without it.
On the 22nd of June 2020 my first ever zine that I had made arrived at my door and with a mixture of nervousness and excitement I opened the parcel. Did everything pan out or I have just created a hot mess? I pulled out a copy and flipped through it. The zine turned out quite decent if I say so myself. The photographs, text and layout was as I had made them.