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Learning new things . Developing film at home

Hello creative folks,

since the first time I hold an analog camera in my hands, loaded the film, exposed it, delivered it on a photo studio, waited one week and ended up with a result far from what I’d expected… that I wanted to learn how I could do it at home.

I would often daydream of a day when I could just finish a roll and have it ready without ever living the studio – I often romanticise things – or having to worry about the prices done on local photo labs.

Furthermore, what attracted me the most was the idea of learning yet another technique of the rich medium that is photography, thinking I could act in a fundamental part of the process, not depending on anybody else for the end result – well, not entirely… one still needs to buy the film – , being present in another step of the process and understanding photography as a whole. Not that one has to develop film at home to understand and appreciate photography, but for me it changes the perspective on art’s possibilities and limitations.


Image originally posted on aisaaraujophotography Instagram account


Despite the fact that this was something that I’ve always wanted to learn, somehow life got in the way. First it was the need to learn how to master the digital camera, then the business side of it, client service, marketing, social media and so on, and my lovely dream of being alone in a room with my negatives, like a magician, ended up being pushed away from the priorities list.

So two weeks ago ( now four weeks ago because this post was originally wrote before I got really sick with fever and a swollen throat and couldn’t get out of bed let alone photograph, develop or write ) you can imagine how excited I was when a dear friend invited me to meet her so she could teach me how to do it.

Image originally posted on aisaaraujophotography Instagram account


I guess this sounds a bit silly since it’s such a simple thing, but for me it was an amazing and very emotional experience.

I was happy and excited that I was finally learning, nervous that I would ruin the negative ( I’m very clumsy ), grateful to my dear friend for teaching me with such incredible patience ( again, very, very clumsy ), amazed by how fun and rewarding the process is but most of all, I was smitten with the entire thing and at the end of the day I knew I had found a new passion.


Image originally posted on aisaaraujophotography Instagram account


On my way home I started retracing the afternoon in my head and I remembered a friend who’s a fashion designer telling me about the first time she actually learned how to sew manually and did an entire piece by hand, her entire relationship with fashion and clothing design changed and so did mine with photography on that day.

Another time I had one of those aha! moments was when I had a class about alternative processes. I bought the materials and prepared to do it alone but again life got in the way and I never got to practice what I had learned so I ended up forgetting most of it.

Image originally posted on aisaaraujophotography Instagram account


I didn’t want that to happen this time so I got a bit obsessed about it. Besides a few trips to buy some supplies I spent two weeks on complete reclusion comparing prices and finding all the materials necessary, trying to learn everything and anything from watching tutorials, reading books, magazines, blogs and forum entries on the subject and finally actually doing it.

Image originally posted on aisaaraujophotography Instagram account


The first roll of film turned out ok. Not perfect but not a total disaster either. I still have a lot to learn and that is actually one of the reasons why I enjoyed it so much.

When I manage to scan the negative ( still looking for a good scanner ) I’ll be sure to share the photos here on the blog.


UPDATE ( March 2014 )

My dear friend Teresa was kind enough to make some photos while I was ( trying ) to develop the first roll. I’m so happy that I now have some images of this great memory and important day.


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