I’ve fallen in love with photography again thanks to shooting film, but there are some practical things that I’ve needed to implement (still easier for me than shooting digital, by the way).
One of these practical things is that I can now develop my own film.
By the way, developing black and white film at home is easy. They even have monobaths now where it only takes a few minutes and one chemical.
Color is more complicated…
What makes color complicated is that the chemicals need to be at a precise temperature. People do this with sous-vide implements and setting up a whole chemistry lab in their kitchen or bathroom…
I’m at a point in my life (and my wife’s life) where I can’t do that.
When you’re shooting as much film as I am, the cost adds up quickly. But the cost is only half of the problem.
The waiting… is the hardest part.
Now you say “But with film, the waiting is half the fun!”
That’s true… But I don’t want to wait on someone else’s schedule.
And the anticipation is actually so much better when you do it yourself and reveal those negatives.
So in order to do this at home without taking over our kitchen or leaving any smelly hazardous chemicals around my house, I got this amazing device called the Filmomat, which looks like a piece of hifi audio gear (but doesn’t cost quite as much).
This device was created by a German engineering student who got mad one day that a lab messed up his film so he built the best and most beautiful automatic home film processor in the world.
I love stories like that. That’s how most great things come to be.
The Filmomat cleans itself, lets me run 4 rolls at a time (or 2 35mm and 2 medium format), and I can do color, black and white, or slide film (haven’t done slide film yet).
It’s not like this takes no work. You still have to go in the dark to spool your film and get it in the tank and you need to mix up chemicals to use, but this machine makes it possible for me to do this at home.
As an added benefit, I get to offer friends and family the gift of reconnecting with photography on film as I have, and I can process and scan for them.
I know this won’t happen, but I hope that everyone who ever loved or fancied or liked photography will one day pull their grandma’s old Pentax out of the attic (it still works, guys) and shoot a roll of film and feel that magic.
At least I can help loved ones who will.