World Photography Day

Just In case it slipped passed unnoticed, yesterday was world photography day. It celebrates August 19 1839, when the French government bought the patent for the daguerreotype; a photographic process developed by Joseph Nicèphore Nièpce and Louis Daguerre in 1837, and released it “free to the world”. By strange coincidence, last night I recommissioned my darkroom and made some test prints the old fashioned way using an enlarger and in trays full of chemicals. About a week ago I was sorting through some old bits and bobs and came across a dark slide with an exposed sheet of film in it (a dark slide holds film for use in those big old fashioned cameras that have bellows). Into the developer it went and revealed it had a picture of the Upper Bell pub (on Blue bell hill in Kent) that I’d taken a good few years ago when it had been abandoned to the elements and started to rot. The Negative was showing signed of fogging, having been sitting around for such a long time, but still very printable. I decided to test the rest of my old film to see how it was holding up by taking a couple of test shots using it in my old 5×4 camera. They turned out surprisingly well, so the next step was actually printing them in a darkroom. Darkening the room temporarily proved a challenge and I’ll go into that later, and I was initially disappointed as the majority of my old printing paper (Ilford) was also showing signed f its age and had fogged, but I did find a pack of a lesser known brand (Kentmere) which still seemed fine. Having seen the traditional old process through again, from taking a photo to printing it on paper, I was inspired to recommission the darkroom back to working order and start using it again. Maybe even make a few hand printed portraits to see how they look.