How to start processing black and white film at home + my recipes for Tri-X in HC110

Adrian, from my final major project about living statues – Ilford HP5@400 in ID11 1+1

For a long time, while I was at uni, my film of choice has been HP5, a classic 400 iso emulsion by Ilford.

To be totally honest with you, it wasn’t so much of an informed choice, as I only knew about FP4 and HP5 and I chose the latter simply because it was faster (FP4 is 125 iso speed) and I was shooting in available light, needing the extra speed.

At university we only had a kind of developer, ID11, and for three years I just shoot HP5 developed in ID11, happily ignoring the existence of whole of world of other films and developer combinations.

Robert, from my final major project about living statues – Ilford HP5@400 in ID11 1+1

 When I finished university and moved to London, I felt the urgency to do some research to be able to still shoot black and white film and to develop it at home.

Photography resources in London: the cheap darkroom on Chatsworth road (Homerton)

When I left university, I knew that I would miss the facilities immensely, especially the darkroom and the library, so, as soon as I settled in London, I started to hunt for a cheap rental darkroom to print my work at.

I’ve been looking everywhere on the internet and, I have to say, there aren’t many options in London for traditional printers, and most of them are too expensive for me, therefore I was delighted when I found out on a forum about a community darkroom in Homerton, literally round the corner from where I live, that apparently was one of the cheapest places where you could print both colour and black and white in London!

Photochats is a lovely lovely darkroom ran by Peter Young at Chats Palace, on Chatsworth road, in Homerton and I highly recommend it.

Unfortunately there’s no much information about this incredible place on the internet (they’re working at their website), so I’ve decided to copy their spring newsletter, with opening times, prices and descriptions of the facilities and of the courses, on this blog (after the cut)

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100 Strangers Project

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m rather curious about people and I like the idea of photographing strangers, so I’ve decided to start the 100 strangers project on flickr.

One of the aims of the project is pretty straight forward, taking pictures of 100 strangers, but it’s not limited to that and what better way to explain it than copying the manifesto from the 100 strangers flickr group? You can find it below.

The idea: The 100 Strangers project is a learning group intended for those wishing to improve both their social and technical skills needed for taking portraits of strangers and telling their stories. The method is to learn by doing. Your participation will require you to share your experiences with the other members of the group. By providing this invaluable knowledge, everyone, beginners and experienced alike will benefit.

The challenge: Take at least 100 photographs of 100 people you don’t know. Approach anyone or a group of people, ask for permission to both take a photo of them and to post it to this group. Get to know your stranger/s. Who are they? What is their life like?

Step out of your comfort zone and into a new level of portrait photography. Start by taking 100 portraits of people you don’t know, total strangers. We welcome both beginner and advanced photographers. You may be new to photographing strangers or already have experience with this type of photography. Regardless, everyone is encouraged to take up the challenge.

The project is quite enjoyable and will definitely improve your photojournalistic skills. During the process you might just gain a new appreciation for those around you and enrich your everyday experience . You may even gain a few new friends along the way.

As you progress with the project it will be critical to share your experiences with the other members. This may be a story about the stranger you just met or how you felt making the approach. You may have, for example, tried a new approach, used a new photographic technique or equipment. You are learning by doing, so share with us what you’ve learned while taking on the 100 Stranger project.

I think that’s a pretty sweet initiative and it’s worth supporting, plus it’s a brilliant “excuse” to approach and photograph strangers without feeling too awkard.

So far, I’ve photographed 13 strangers for this project. You can see the first three of them in my previous post about photographing strangers and, if you wish, you can keep up to date with the latest additions in the 100 strangers set on my flickr account.

Stranger’s stories and pictures after the cut

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My work featured on UNLIMITED GRAIN – PORTRAITS book

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Growing up together

This is Tommaso, my first boyfriend and best friend.

Tommaso (2010)

We met when we were 14 (me) and 16 (him) and I love him to bits.

I’ve just realised that I took a very similar portrait of him 5 years ago and I think that it would be nice to do a series of portraits of him growing old.

Tommaso (2005)

I’d love to challenge myself with such a long term project, but I have to ask him if he’d like to do it, I really hope he won’t mind.

He’s such a nice guy and I’m going to see him again for Christmas this year, so I don’t see why it shouldn’t work.

Protected: Photography resources in London: the cheap lab near Shoreditch High Street – UPDATED it’s not so cheap anymore :(

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Going through my archive

I’m still job hunting, I send lots of emails everyday and it really annoys me when people don’t get back to me.

I used to be very bad at replying to messages on facebook, emails and text messages, but after I’ve realised how annoying it can be for the other person to wait a reply forever, I’ve decided to be better.

Another thing that I used to be awful at is sending free pictures to the people who posed for me or worked with me on not commercial projects, so I’m trying to go through my archive and send pictures to all these people now, hoping that they are not too mad at me and that karma will be happy 🙂

Today I’ve edited and sent a selection of pictures from a project that I did last summer, documenting the activities of volunteers in a pet sanctuary in the North of Italy called Porcikomodi.

This is my favourite picture of the lot, so I thought I could share it with you (if anyone read this blog) here.

Piercarlo cleaning up the pigs' shelter

On a completely different note, I also edited some fashion pics from a test shooting that I did around Easter with Heather Donaldson, a stylist from Leeds, so I put one of them as well, just for the stark contrast with the pig one 🙂

Model: Lewis Jamison, MUA: Irram Nash, Stylists: Heather Donaldson and Irram Nash