Film Photography

Discussion in 'Beginner Questions' started by sarahwalsh, Dec 1, 2019.

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  1. Hi I am in a film photography at Stockton university and wanted to know how come my film came out purple? Also how do I avoid scratches on the film because after processing them I sometimes I have little starches.
  2. Tony Parsons

    Tony Parsons Norfolk and Good

    If you are taking a photography class, I would suggest that your best course of action is to ask the teacher or lecturer. They will know which film you used, and what chemicals were used to process it. As for scratches, negatives are very delicate when wet, and need to be handled with utmost care.
    denny_rane likes this.
  3. AJG


    +1 for asking your instructor. B&W film that looks purple after processing usually wasn't fixed long enough or was fixed in exhausted fixer.
  4. Just out of curiosity, why didn’t you ask your teacher first?
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  5. Kodak T-Max?
  6. Assuming you are using black & white film:

    Black & white film is construed by suspending salts of silver in a gelatin binder. We are talking about the film’s emulsion. This light sensitive emulsion is then coated on a transparent film base. The silver salts are silver iodine, silver chlorine, and silver bromine. This silver combined with a halogen (salt maker). Pectoral film may contain just one or a mixture of two or more silver halogen salts.

    In their natural state, these silver halogen crystals are only sensitive to the visible colors, violet and blue. Such a film gives unsatisfactory results because it delivers an unrealistic rendering of colored objects.

    A remedy was discovered by accident Professor Wilhelm Vogel, Berlin Technical in 1864. Trying to solve a problem called halation, a blurred patch that often surrounds highlights caused by internal reflections within the film during exposure. Vogel dyed a film emulsion yellow. The dye mitigated halation’s however it also extended the sensitivity of the film into the green region of visible light. His graduate students succeeded using different dyes, extended film sensitivity into the green and red, This is the panchromatic (pan = all) film we use today.

    All modern pictorial films depend on sensitizing dyes. These fine-tune the film so that it gives a more correct monochromatic rending. Both black & white and color films are thus treated using sensitizing dyes. Additionally The back side of the film is coated with a dye layer that combats halation’s.

    The dyes we are talking about dissolve into the waters of developing /fixing process. Some modern films used stubborn dyes that remain giving the finished negatives a warm coloration. Such a tint is harmless provided it is uniform. It’s only drawback is to add a few seconds to the enlarger exposure. If this tint give you anxiety, it can likely be removed by prolonged washing. In some stubborn cases, you will need to re-fix and then re-wash. Wash or soak the film for an extended time. Again, the tin is likely harmless.
  7. yes
  8. T-Max is particularly known for it.

    Alan Marcus explained it well above.

    Also see here:
    Google Groups
  9. T-max explains the purple tint - it doesn't affect the printing quality of the negatives in the slightest.

    As for the scratches - stop using a rubber squeegee!

    And why, oh why, are people being taught to use film in this day and age?
  10. James G. Dainis

    James G. Dainis Moderator

    "And why, oh why, are people being taught to use film in this day and age?"


    My friend here says it is because film is better.

    Dave Luttmann likes this.
  11. Tony Parsons

    Tony Parsons Norfolk and Good

    For the same reason people use pots and pans instead of microwaves - they prefer the results.

    Also, in a college course, it is often useful to know some of the history behind the subject, and one of the best ways to learn is hands-on experience.
  12. For the simple reason that film is as much a part of photography as any other aspect of it. If one is to get a degree (or even a lowly certificate) in photography, one must indeed learn all aspects of it. Beyond that, believe it or not, some people are actually enthused to learn to shoot film, develop film, etc. In fact, looking at the bigger "picture" (I make the pun), film has a far bigger history in photography than digital, or most (if not all) other forms of photography.

    If one wishes to learn a thing, whatever it is, why wouldn't one wish to learn all aspects of whatever thing it is? I personally wish to learn the "whole" thing (in this case, photography). Not just a part of it.
  13. TMax films take longer to fix, as hexagonal grains dissolve slower.

    And also, I believe unrelated, to get the sensitizing dye out.

    If it is light colored, don't worry, otherwise refix.

    If the table gives a range of fix times, choose the longer one, and
    maybe even add a minute or two.
    bethe_fisher likes this.
  14. And that's exactly the reason why digital is a far better teaching and learning medium.

    The result of variation in aperture and shutter speed can be immediately seen. And there's no puzzlement about purple dyes and other chemical process control concerns.

    The emphasis should surely be on aesthetic concerns. Such as composition, lighting, selective depth-of-field, etc. Even Photoshop skills. Not slopping chemicals about and learning that depleting Earth's dwindling natural resources is perfectly OK.
  15. The thing about telling others what their emphasis should be is the risk of omitting key aspects. While I consider composition, lighting, and depth of field important, as I do certain foundational things one can learn using film and in the darkroom, I’d also want to emphasize things like content, narrative, visualization, intimacy, texture, and voice ... at least for myself.

    One takeaway from my PN experience is that there isn’t a monolithic approach to or use of photography and there are different things people want for it and from it, from art to snapshot to documenting to craft to hobby to technical exercise to wall decor to memento to vacation scrapbook and beyond ... often with overlapping strands. Depending on so many factors, emphases may merge and vary accordingly.
  16. Of course. Those were just a few examples I gave; of aspects that are totally independent of the medium used for image capture. The technology of image capture is purely mechanistic, open to change, refinement and evolution, and therefore simplistic and of little use as a transferrable skill.

    So, to give students a proper historical perspective, we should make them use mercury vapour, as in the Daguerreotype process, and mess about with ether and gun-cotton to coat wet-collodion plates?

    Film is on the same path as the Dodo. At least let it become extinct without the indignity of putting it in a preservation park.
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2019
  17. Someone wanting hands-on experience in film, which was widely and almost exclusively used for over a century in the relatively young world of photography, should be made to also use the founding photographic process which was used for a couple of early decades? Don’t get the logic. And, in any case, learning the daguerreotype process could add to and not diminish anyone’s experience of photography.

    Mozart is still played on original instruments, instruments which have been substantially out of use for centuries compared to the relatively recent waning of film use. When done well, I can appreciate such performances on original instruments and it increases both my understanding and love of Mozart. I also love the more prevalent, full-throated renditions of Mozart by more modern and contemporary orchestras. I don’t need to choose or follow anyone down the rabbit hole of which is better.

    History has led us to the present. It doesn’t simply disappear. Art, philosophy, culture involve chains of events and strands of the past that build on each other and echo over time. Some degree of understanding, nostalgia for, and homage to older themes, mechanisms, and processes has been and will be part of the artist’s, the philosopher’s, and the scientist’s purview.
    bethe_fisher likes this.
  18. I agree with Joe. The OP doesn’t even know how to operate her archaic camera(see her profile post) and it would seem her teacher is a DH.

    I forgot, Mozart was a crap photographer:)
  19. Tony Parsons

    Tony Parsons Norfolk and Good

    True, but a dab hand at Crepe Suzettes
    Ludmilla likes this.
  20. Because it’s fun to have a change of pace and switch up working methods every once in while?
    Dave Luttmann and denny_rane like this.
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