One thing, other than sewing vintage fashion, that I love to do is photography. I took a photography class in high school that, while we used film cameras, was otherwise done by computer. Therefore, I never learned developing - something I'd always wanted to know. It was a big disappointment for me then.
In college, I made friends with art majors who did photography and this past year one of them showed me how developing was done. (This knowledge was helpful in today's project, I must admit - seeing it done is something I often need in order to do things myself.) There was a darkroom there, full of enlargers, but I have a scanner here that does negatives, so I don't really need any of that.
In following photography blogs, I've learned of a process of caffenol processing. It's called caffenol because one of the major components in this is coffee. Instant coffee and washing soda, really. That's all I used, though some people also add vitamin C. It worked surprisingly well, I was really excited.
Through the weeks of gathering the instant coffee, washing soda (easy - but not super-easy - to find), fixer (the only chemical you'll need) and a developing tank, my excitement only kept building with each new thing I'd found. I'd bought 15 rolls of black and white film a while back to start this project and am excited to start really getting into it.
I did this project in my bathroom - a good place with running water and a fan (to get rid of the gross smells of the developer), and hopefully in the next couple of days I'll be putting up an edit with some of the shots I took. Though I haven't exactly perfected it (it came out rather transparent) I am very encouraged by this small success. It's empowering and exciting to be able to not only shoot film but develop it too, and on the cheap without having to use all kinds of crazy terrible chemicals.