What Kind of Chemicals Are Used to Develop Film?

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The chemicals that are used to develop traditional film include a developing solution, a stop solution and a fixative to maintain the quality of the image. Use the proper chemicals to develop camera film and prints with information from a professional photographer in this free video on printing techniques.

Part of the Video Series: Photography History & Techniques
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Video Transcript

Chemical used to develop photographs. Well we don't use a lot of chemicals to develop photographs any more. One I have been playing with recently has been cyanotype. And cyanotype is an interesting, it is blue you have seen the blue photographs. And what happens is there are a series of chemicals that were discovered by the astronomer John Herschel, and somewhere before Deguerre and Fox Talbot were able to fix the image. It must have been somewhere around 1830, and what he discovered was that you could mix these chemicals, put them on paper, when they dried they became sensitive to light, and then you would have a synthesized paper that you could use not for projection speed, but that you could contact print with it. A developer, a stop bath, and a fixer these were, but I think actually Herschel was one of the people who developed, worked out the idea for fixers with Fox Talbot, some of his writing. But you know that has been traditional. There was a lot of in the early days a lot of different kinds of processes that used different chemicals. Mercury, some of the were dangerous, Mathew Brady had to use wet plates. So they had to go in the dark, and synthesize the a glass plate, and then go out into the camera, put it in the camera in the dark, and then run out and take their picture. And then run back before it dried, and process it. So it was very difficult.


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