I love working with film photography. It is a very methodic process that involves developing the film, drying it, creating a proof sheet, choosing the best pictures and enlarge them by exposing developing paper to the film and then developing that paper. Once I’m in the darkroom, I can stay there for up to 4 to 5 hours and time just flies.
And that is exactly what I did this week.
I took to rolls of film with me to Alaska and went through them until the end of the trip. Working with film is a completely different experience because it involves patience, something I struggle to work on. Unlike digital photos, I can’t just take the picture and see what I got, edit it and share it immediately. There is a process, and it takes time.
The last part of the process, the enlargement, is by far the most satisfying. After choosing a good picture to enlarge, light goes through the film, hitting the developer paper, which is then soaked in developer. This is the chemical that reveals the picture on the paper. Then, I transfer the paper to the stop bath, which basically stops the effect from the developer so that the paper stops getting darker. The last chemical is the fixer, which allows the print to stay on the paper. It literally “fixes” the image on the paper.
Here are some of the pictures that I developed these past couple of days.
I’m am thankful for my experience in Alaska and I hope that I am patient enough to let it develop in my inner darkroom. Going to Alaska was like dipping the developer paper in the first chemical and slowly start to see the picture come up. Thing started to make sense slowly as we talked to more people and experience the tundra daily.
But after the developer comes the stop bath. I need a break to reflect and meditate on my experience in Bethel. My time back home in Bolivia will let me take some time off to be still and reflect.
Finally, I hope that I can find a proper fixer, a way in which I can make this experience stay with me forever. And I think that that will have to be manifested through a conscious life style. Just like Scott talked about on his blog, change comes one person at the time.
By having a lifestyle that commemorates my experience in Bethel. I will fix the memories and learning in the developer paper of my heart.