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Thread: Alchemy in the Darkroom

  1. #1
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    Alchemy in the Darkroom

    A friend of mine studies photography, and recently we've been talking about experimental techniques in developing photographs. Earlier today, after being unable to answer the majority of my questions about the developing process using various chemicals, she brought me the book, "The Darkroom Cookbook" by Stephen G. Anchell. It's a very interesting read.

    Most notably is his perspective on a 'crystalline' substance:

    Crystalline means that as many water molecules as possible are attached to the chemical's molecule. The water bonded to the chemical makes the molecule weigh more. The extra weight is only water [. . .] Crystalline chemicals will try to release their water to their air to become monohydrate.
    Thought this was interesting enough to share.

    Also, is anyone else here a professional or hobbyist of developing film photographs?
    Art is Nature in the flask; Nature is a vial thing.

  2. #2
    Not yet but I have been hoping to try some of the alternative/historical processes from this extensive site: http://www.alternativephotography.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiorionis View Post
    Also, is anyone else here a professional or hobbyist of developing film photographs?
    I did it a lot of times in the past. I do no longer do it (I do no longer use analog film at all actually).
    But, yes, the process involves using an Acid and a Basic (though you often purchase them already "mixed", though you can mix them yourself if you want to do some "tricks" -not alchemical tricks, but photographic tricks).

    The infamous wikipedia gives a good explanation: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photographic_developer

    So, yes... it's possible to make a wild analogy and say that it may resemble some alchemical ideas, but it's just an "analogy" and stating that it's alchemy would be going way too far.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 3+O( View Post
    Not yet but I have been hoping to try some of the alternative/historical processes from this extensive site: http://www.alternativephotography.com
    Exactly what I was looking for

    Thanks
    Art is Nature in the flask; Nature is a vial thing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zoas23 View Post
    So, yes... it's possible to make a wild analogy and say that it may resemble some alchemical ideas, but it's just an "analogy" and stating that it's alchemy would be going way too far.
    Well, I am mostly curious on peoples' thoughts about the fundamental nature of crystals, from an alchemical perspective.

    Anchell is suggesting that crystalline salts are mostly water molecules. Is that why they dissolve so easily? Because that seems contradictory.
    Art is Nature in the flask; Nature is a vial thing.

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