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Darkroom Introduction

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Alex Williamson

on 9 May 2016

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Transcript of Darkroom Introduction

Darkroom Introduction
By the end of today you will have looked at the two areas of darkroom processing:

Produced a diagram of the enlarger head and timer and labeled them
Discussed the controls of an enlarger to refresh your memory
Discussed filtration in the darkroom

Looked at the chemical processes involved in developing film and print
Discussed different darkroom paper types

The Enlarger
Darkroom Grades
What are grades?

Paper Types
Resin Coated

Resin coated paper is coated on both sides with polythene to seal it, then the photographic emulsion is coated onto this. Because processing chemistry just works on the surface of the paper without soaking in, the paper is quick to process, wash and dry and can be used in high speed processing machines.
Fiber Based

Fiber-base paper is the traditional photographic printing medium. The emulsion is applied to a fine quality paper that has no plastic resin coating. It generates higher quality than Resin Coated paper because of its finer grain structure and higher silver content. The generally slower emulsion gives more control over the printing process.
Advantages and Disadvantages

Quick to process
Easier to handle
Easier to dry
Quicker to dry


Don't tone well
Lower quality
Quick processing time
Not Archival

Better quality
Tones well
Longer process time


Difficult to handle
Longer to process
Difficult to dry
Difficult to mount
More expensive
Difficult to purchase
So why use Fiber Based paper?
Two types of enlarger
Black and White and Colour
A Black and white enlarger you would be required to manually select a grade and physically place the filter in.

A Colour enlarger you dial in a grade using the controls on the enlarger head.

Black and white grades

00 0 0.5 1 1.5 2 2.5 3 3.5 4 4.5 5
Two ways to getting grades in the darkroom are:

Graded Paper
The Chemistry

Once you have exposed your image on to your light sensitive you place it in to the developer. This will cause a chemical reaction to occur and the silver iodide to darken where it has been exposed to light.


This stops the chemical process byt removing the undeveloped silver iodine from the print and will wash away the developer


This stabalizes the silver Iodine so that it is no longer sensitive to light.


The wash removes the remaining chemicals from the print. For fiber based papers this should be a minimum of 25 minutes, the print should smell clean before you remove it.
Darkroom Paper
This is a paper that is coated in a light sensitive solution called emulsion.

This is usually Silver Iodide
Problems with the process
Always ensure you have fresh chemicals before starting in the darkroom. Your developer can become exhausted which means it will take longer to develop images resulting in inconsistent prints.

Your fix will go purple once exhausted and will need replacing.

The stop bath can be replaced regularly with fresh water.

You must always ensure that you have running water through the wash.

Other typical problems include prints browning or turning purple, this is due to insufficient fixing and washing.
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