Darkroom Practice Project Evaluation

This assignment has been a very interesting project and a project I have been looking forward to completing. Going back to Film Photography allows you to experience a different sense of accomplishment, because at every step of the way you have to do process the film to negatives, and you have to make your enlargement process to make big prints of your images. With a digital camera there is a lot more forgiveness when creating shots, but especially with the Film SLR cameras we used for the assignment, these were fully manual with no digital assistance.

I have learnt a lot from this assignment, not just regarding the processing of film but more things to consider when shooting in a studio and working with a sitter for shooting portraits.

In regards to film photography, I have learnt that there is a lot to consider when shooting with film. Different films speeds have different properties and qualities, which make them suitable for specific types of Photography. The higher the ISO speed, the more sensitive the film is to light, but to achieve this the grain size is bigger and has a lot less on the film, while a lower ISO has a smaller grain. The grain size also dictates the amount of information it captures; the lower the number the more information is captured.

Exposure Latitude is something else you need to consider when shooting on film. Exposure Latitude is how much the film can either be under or over exposed and still achieve an acceptable exposure. This is more important with lower ISO films than with higher ISO films. Oddly enough, this is the opposite with digital cameras, where at higher ISO sensitivities on the sensor lower exposure latitude. While lower ISO sensitivities on Sensor have wider exposure latitudes.

Through my research on film and darkroom, I came across the practice of Reciprocity. Reciprocity is the relationship between the intensity and time, which will determine a total exposure on the film.

I also learnt a lot from the darkroom in terms of processing film and working within the darkroom environment. When processing film you can change the ISO property of a film, this is because we had ISO 125 film but we made the camera, think we were exposing it at ISO 200 film. To do this we need to Push Process the film, push processing is developing a film for a different time or specified ISO film. So when we were processing in the darkroom, our times went from 10 minutes to 9 minutes, but because the temperature was higher we then had to change the time to account for the increase in room temperature. Push processing does have its weaknesses and will degrade the quality of the negative, however you can do the opposite and Pull Process. Pull Process is where you deliberately under develop the film.

I was happy with the creation of; my negatives, my negative contact sheets, my enlargements and the images I shot at the studio shoot. It was a very good experience and gave you a lot of self-satisfaction when you were at each step and creating different pieces for the assignment. I also enjoyed shooting portraits in the studio, as Portraiture is a type of Photography that interests me. I also believed that the pieces of work I made for this assignment were to a good standard.

Unfortunately some of my shots were not at a very good standard and were unusable and were sometimes out of focus, the negative contact sheet doesn’t always give a good idea if the image is all in focus. Though I enjoyed the different processes to creating the different components for this assignment. They took along time to create the different parts of the assignment and if something went wrong you had to re-do it. Fortunately my film was developed with a good standard, though a little flat. I also didn’t have the best means to store then and constantly was getting dust and smudged them. This could have degraded the image quality overall. I also had trouble with focusing with the manual camera and using the focus finder to find the film grain.

Overall this assignment was quite a unique experience and I thoroughly enjoyed this assignment.


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