Teaching Materials - Exercise

Darkroom ─ Developing Photographic Paper

Name of Artist Educator: n/a
Excercise Category: Technical exercise

The basic techniques of photo developing process inside darkroom

Materials / Equipment:

  • Chemicals – Film / Paper developer, stop bath, fixer
  • Darkroom Equipment – Enlarger + Timer, Safety Light, Easel
  • Darkroom Tool Set – Scissors, Grain Enlarger, Dodge Tool, Black Card Board, Small Tray



Workshop Description:

1. Chemicals Dilution – Most of the chemicals will be diluted for you, in case you need to dilute them yourself, please follow these instructions:

Developer (for paper) – 1 : 9 (developer : water)
Developer (for film) – 1 : 4 (developer : water)
Stop Bath – 15ml : 1000ml (stop bath : water)
Fixer (for paper) – 1 : 7 (fixer : water)
Fixer (for film) – 1 :  3 (fixer : water)
HCA – 1 : 4 (HCA stock solution : water)

2. Checking - Before you use, please make sure the enlarger is working accordingly.
Enlarger Components :
Light Head – casing for the light bulb
Focusing Knob – to move the bellow of the lens up and down for focus.
Head Knob – to move the light head up and down for size of image.
Aperture Ring – located on the lens, to dim or brighten the light.
Negative Carrier – where you place your negative between the lens and bulb.
Timer –to control the exposure time of the enlarger.

3. Check – Turn on station’s safe light, enlarger and timer. Load film into negative carrier, make sure the film is dust free, you can use dust blower to eliminate dust.

4. Focus – Set timer to “focus” mode and focus the image onto the easel, use a grain focuser to make sure the image is in focus, turn back to “timer” mode when you’re done.

5. Expose – Set timer to desired exposure time. (You should have used test strips to test out the correct exposure time before you do a final print) Take the photo paper out with emulsion facing upwards (shiny side up), and place the paper onto the easel. The lights will turn on when you hit the timer button and turn off again when it’s finished exposing.

6. Developer – Take the paper and place it emulsion down into the developer tray, leave it in there for 1 minute 30 seconds, agitate constantly.

7. Stop Bath – Take paper out from developer tray and let the excess developer run off back into the tray, place the paper into the stop bath tray and leave it in there for 1 minute, agitating constantly.

8. Fixer – Take paper out from the stop bath tray and let the excess developer run off back into the tray, place paper into the fixer tray and leave it in there for 1 minute 30 seconds, agitating constantly.

9. Wash – Take the print out and rinse in running water for 20 minutes, hang the print for drying afterwards.

10. Chemical Disposal – In general, black and white darkroom chemicals are relatively safe, but some still possesses some harmful ingredients for the environment. For developers and stop bath it is safe enough to pour directly into the washing basin, but remember to discard the FIXER into the fixer sink, those chemicals will be stored in plastic tanks and later send to be recycled. Before pouring into the fixer sink, make sure the plastic tank below the sink have enough capacity for the discarded fixer.