--> Skip to main content

The Miracles of Analog Photography

I'm 50 years old at the time of writing this. I grew up with analog photography being the only option.

In the mid 1980's when and where I attended Independence High School in San Jose California I had a fantastic photo teacher: Mr Bernucci. At some point he just gave me a couple of way outdated boxes of Kodak Medalist single weight photo paper. The paper expired in 1972, so obviously it was made a few years earlier. Funny thing is that this paper was likely made about when I was born.



The big yellow boxes once held 500 sheets each. One box was grade 2, the other grade 3. At some point my dad Hans was looking for a photo paper box to store my grandfather Milton (Hal) Halberstadt's ashes. Al Weber was doing a memorial workshop to honor my grandfather. So I consolodated the two boxes of Medalist paper into the same box face-to-face so I could know one stack is different than the other and gave a box to my dad. My dad would set up a folding chair and put the medalist box



Fast forward to today. I work as the "Photo Tech" at Mills College and often help out in the darkroom. Alice Shaw is teaching the darkroom photo class and often points students to me for unusual requests. One student was looking to crumple photo paper for some reason and that doesn't work well with RC. I offered to bring in my box of old paper (in a huge stack of old photo paper I've bought and/or collected over the last decades.



I came in and gave it a quick test. To my surprise the paper still behaved normally! There was real black and true white. The tonality looked good. The paper and I are the same age, but I'm wrinkly and gray, and the paper is fine!


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Linhof Serial Year List - Salomon Says

Recently I've acquired a few Linhof cameras. I got a 5x7 view camera from Oakland Museum's White Elephant Sale. Later I stumbled upon a Color Kardan 90 Jahre Jubalaeum edition on Craigslist. And more recently, I found a "baby Technika" 2x3 (6x9) at Oakland's East Bay Depot for Creative Re-use. Not knowing much about Linhof large format cameras, I tried getting more info online, and came across a strange thread on the Large Format Photography Forum . Basically on this thread various Linhof owners ask a guy named Bob Salomon what year their Linhof was made. And the thread is over 100 pages long! Sifting through that thread is mindnumbing. Why Bob doesn't just publish the list of serial numbers is beyond me. Maybe it's just nice to feel needed. So I started compiling a spreadsheet of the serial numbers and the answer Bob gives. If you don't feel like spending a couple days reading this thread to get a hint as to the age of your Lin

Who Makes Ultrafine Film?

One of these 120 paper backings stands out as being different. Not a big surprise, since one is Kodak, and another is Ilford. But our mystery film Ultrafine has the *exact* same backing paper as seen in this scan. What does this mean? There are a few possibilities that come to mind. It's always possible that the backing paper is made by a third party I suppose. Not likely, as there isn't much of a market for 120 film anymore, and I've never seen another non-Ilford film with the same backing paper. So is this mystery film, Ultrafine actually Ilford then? Another, more likely theory is that it is made by Kentmere. Kentmere and Ilford are both part of the Harman group . In researching this I just read that Harman was the name of the founder of Ilford company in the late 19th century. So how is are the Ultrafine (E)Xtreme films? I bought a bulk roll of the 400 speed. Frankly it's pretty grainy and soft. I don't hate it, and I'm trying to work with the grain.

From the Archive: Obsolete Film Data Sheet Scans - ORWO Information

Here's a sheet I got from writing ORWO Technischer Kundendienst back in the 1980's. It lists development times for all the ORWO Black and White films sold for export at the time (NP15, NP22, NP 27) combined with western developers Microphen, Atomal, Rodinal, Refinal, D-76, & ID-11. A little bit of ORWO history- Germany's big photo film/paper manufacturer up until Germany's losing WWII was AGFA (short for  A ktien G esellschaft F ür A nilinfabrikation - or corporation for some sort of plastic manufacture.) Germany was occupied by the winning powers USSR/USA/GB/FR and the rift between the USSR led to some complications for industries. Depending on your view of history the US and western allies were much friendlier to the land they occupied (remember the USSR lost many millions of their citizens to the NAZIs which made them much less tolerant.) In any case, some factories in the east moved to the west with many key employees. Most photo enthusiasts know of the t