Last night, I made my first print in the darkroom!!! I developed my 3 rolls of film last week and with one whole week of crazy anticipation to see what they'll look like, it was so neat to finally see the image surface and darken as the photo paper is immersed in the developing chemical. I felt like a little kid oo'ing and aah'ing and got even more excited realizing that ohhh, so that's how it really works.
I have to say that my experience in the Holga Photography class has been humbling. Sure, I was aware that film photography existed prior to the onset of digital cameras, printers, and photoshop...I had a film camera all throughout grade school and highschool. But I've never really thought about the extent upon which our digital world was built using the foundation set by film photography. Dodge and burn, to me, was only a function in photoshop. Well, it actually came from film printing...how ignorant I was!
I've really enjoyed this class because it made me think about how images are captured and the scientific processes (i.e. light projected from a negative onto a piece of light sensitive photographic paper to create an image, developing chemicals make the image appear, etc) that are going on when you're taking a photo and printing! The most valuable thing I've learned though is that you can't be sloppy with your lighting, especially with film. It's definitely not as easy to fix as its digital counterparts. It was also really interesting learning that film printing is an iterative process...printing a test strip (that you see above), figuring out which contrast filter you think is best and how long to expose the film. It's trial and error, it's a scientific process, it's not instant gratification and it was nice having that change...tiring at 10 pm but still nice.
On top all of this learning, there is something relaxing, soothing, fulfilling, and rewarding about working in the darkroom...about being in your own space, your own little world counting 1 minutes developer, 10 seconds stop bath, 30 seconds fixer, and 2 minutes wash and watching your very own vision come alive.