Without a doubt, photography has to be amongst the most-loved hobbies in the world. It feeds our need to capture all the poignant and important moments in our lives. A lot of what we know about historical events are also based on photographs.
Over time as technology evolved, so has photography, from the kind of cameras used to take photographs to how they are developed or printed into paper form. Even the storage of photos has changed; we have moved from photo albums and microfiche to scrapbooking and cloud storage.
We can even search the internet for specific photographs which are available as stock footage, random photos of people, places and things. As the saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words.”
A couple in Windsor has taken their love for photography one step further by developing their photos themselves, without using a darkroom and darkroom chemicals. The couple decided to rediscover their neighborhood by taking random photographs around town and in the countryside.
Kaitlyn Karns and Austin DiPietro then went one step further and developed their photos. Not wanting to wait for their photos from external developers and pay the extra cost, they embarked on the creative journey of developing their own photos.
What’s unique about their method?
Their method is relatively new to the market, but it is gaining popularity for several reasons. It is safer for the environment as it uses fewer toxic chemicals. This method needs just three chemicals, developer, stopper and fixer, which is much less than traditional methods. It is also safer for the user as the chemicals used in darkroom development can have adverse side effects like headaches, dizziness, and burns.
How is it different from the existing method?
The main difference between this method and traditional methods is the cost. To print a 4×9 inch costs around 20 pennies per photo. And if you are going to be printing 50 photos a week, the amount will add up.
To set up a darkroom in your house costs no less than 150 pounds, excluding the chemicals needed. The black-box or black bag method used by Kaitlyn and Austin costs around 85 pounds for the starter kits.
It’s also not that technical to use compared to other methods of developing photos. Provided the instructions are followed correctly, there is little chance of you exposing your negatives and ruining the photos.
So this method is ideal even for the novice photographer. It also takes up little space compared to the darkroom method, where you have to sacrifice an entire room to develop photos.
Could this be the future of photo developing?
This method is definitely the way forward in D.I.Y photo development. With good reason too. It is simple to use, requires minimal space and no bulky equipment. The best part is that it’s safer for the environment and for the user.
Some companies have come up with different versions of this box, like a company in America who have titled their version the LAB BOX. This method is likely to gain popularity as it ticks all the right boxes. So move over dark rooms; photos are made in a box now.
The effect on digital cameras
The comparison between print and digital photos is an age-old debate that we doubt will ever be settled or resolved amicably, with good reason.
We live in a digital world for the most part of the day. This means that the digital camera and photos stored in the cloud are not going anywhere. But the appeal of traditional technology is real, and there is something almost magical in watching your photograph come to life on a piece of paper.
Traditional photography lends those nostalgic moments. Just as black and white movies never died in the era of color, neither will the old way of developing photographs.
That being said, digitization has its place in the world. In photography, digital cameras offer us convenience and accessible storage of our memories. We can sync and back up our photos across all our devices to prevent loss, and they are also easy to carry and less bulky.
If printed correctly, they can also produce glossy, high-quality photos when needed and in the comfort of your own home in color or black and white.
The black box method doesn’t pose a threat to digital cameras; it fulfills a particular need in people, as do digital cameras. They are two photography methods that can co-exist side by side.
Evolution is a constant in everything around us, and it was only a matter of time before a less harmful and simpler method to develop photos was created.
We hope that it’s only a matter of time before major photography and printing companies like Kodak and Canon pick up on this method and refine it for the consumer
So for all those budding photographers, get out there, click click away and enjoy the satisfaction of developing your own black and white photographs at home.