Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Day 362, on which John gets hypam on his hands. It stings. [28.12.10]

Dag tre hundrede toogtres. Wahahaha I feel so awesome today, and I got a load done. Mainly developing film, which we'll get onto later. But now, more bullcrap. 'Cause - wait for it - I revised today. Yeah, I know right? John, revising? At last? No, not at last. Don't be all 'gotta do it this holiday' on me, shut up and go away. I don't need to revise that much, but what I do need to revise, I need to revise a lot. And I got some graphics work done, some medicine packaging I made a few weeks ago and that needs some refining. Next step, print it out, then put it together, then photograph it and I have a top-class packaging design piece for my portfolio. Wahey.

So the big new of today is that I developed my first ever film! Nope, not sent it off to the flids at Jessops to put through their big automatic Film Fucker-Upper machine, I did it myself. And boy, was that one crazy experience. Firstly, you have to transfer the long strip of film with your precious photos on it into a bigger spool and chuck that in a special bucket. Sounds easy; just pop open the film canister with a can opener and painstakingly pull the film onto the spool. Nah. Now try that in the dark. When you have no idea where anything is, you can't see a goddamn thing and you have to get it right. Because, kids, film is light-sensitive until developed so doing it in the light would mean insta-crap. Total obliteration of all your photos, no way back.

Luckily once I struggled the film into the bucket and clicked it light-tight, everything was easy. Well, maybe not easy, but you can do it in the light, which is a relief. Now you have your film in a bucket - a special bucket, remember - you can put some chemicals in to develop the film and make the exposure (photo) you took 'stick', ie. be permanent. There are three boring stages to this - the developer, the stop, and the fixer. The developer goes in the bucket for ages, you thrash it round like a naughty child, then pour it out and put the stop in. This is only in there for 20 seconds in which it halts everything the developer did in its 9 minutes, which is ironic. Finally, you chuck the fixer in (which does some other thing I'm not sure of) for two minutes. The fixer is a total bitch, it's called hypam and it stings like hell when you get it on you. I just managed to tip over the bottle onto my hands, and now they feel like... uh... they feel stingy. There, that's an accurate description.

Clips of my roll on a lightbox. My dad's got all the kit, squee!
It's so nerve-wracking to make sure you don't show the film to light and to maintain the right temperatures and volumes of chemicals, but it's well worth it in the end. I liken it to a rollercoaster ride. Or at least how I experience rollercoasters. Basically, you're scared shitless before you do it, during it you're still scared shitless but you're happy that you started it (still a little apprehensive), and the moment it ends you're super-proud of yourself. OK, maybe I wasn't scared shitless with developing film, but I was certainly apprehensive. And the moment you unravel your film to see your photos, perfectly developed there in little frames on the reel, is amazing. The moment you realise you didn't screw it up, that light in the 'dark' room didn't get to the film, you didn't cross-contaminate the chemicals... priceless.

© John Too, 2010
Here's the first photo I've uploaded of this roll. Not my best, I admit, but still pretty awesome. It's a bunch of broken table frames in my school grounds with the snow in the background. I'm not sure why they are there and why someone hasn't removed them already (they've been there for years), but they make for good photography. Yayayayayayayayayay.

More tomorrow folks,
~John

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