For most of us who grew up from the 1950’s up to 1995 are familiar with camera film. Film cameras insured that we were limited in our shot and that the shots we were taking were accurate, set to the correct exposure, our model was ready and so forth because once the shot was taken, there were no second chances. The shot was final, no going back and deleting the image and starting over. Roll of film was expensive and making a mistake was costly in the long run. After taking the photo we would have to develop the film in a darkroom with a host of technics and chemicals, something that the current generation will never experience nor appreciate the difficulty in the task of developing a photo, cropping, zooming etc., in a darkroom under a red light.
Below is a story that was written when I was in high school. In photography class we were taught how to take photos and develop our film in a darkroom, part of the assignment was to write out the steps in the development process of a roll of film. I surmised that most of the class would create a list or chart of various sorts regarding the process, so I decided to do something different, I wrote about the life of film, specifically the Tri-X 400 Kodak life and experience. Enjoy the story below.
THE LIFE OF TRI-X 400
Hello, for those of you who are unaware I am Tri-X 400—Kodak Film. Not long ago I was in the warm confinements of my film case, in a beautiful camera viewing and recording some of natures most beautiful scenes…until I ran out of room!
Some hours later, a metal monster stripped off my warm cozy shell, I was than forced out and forced to wrap around a cold metal wheel, which I learned is called a reel. Once I was loaded on this reel, I was thrown into a light-tight metal can. Before I realized it I was overwhelmed by eight ounces of some sort of chemical. The human called it D-76, this chemical was a cold 65 degrees, okay maybe not cold for you but for me, I was freezing!! As I soaked in the chemical a strange thing began to happen, the images I had recorded slowly began developing. Waiting and hoping for an end, I never imagined it would get worst…but it did! The human agitated this metal can I was in, flipping me from one side to the other for thirty seconds, than every ten seconds every minute for the next nine minutes. This was a long, slow and a excruciating process.
I could hear the human preparing something he called a rinse and a fixer. He was pretty concerned with the temperature being exactly 65 degrees, just like the D-76. After the nine minutes or so, I can’t quite recall how long I was trapped, the D-76 was dumped back into its bottle. I breathed a sigh of relief for a moment believing I was safe, but I was quickly reminded about the rinse and fixer. I was overwhelmed by water—which amazingly caused the development process of my images to cease. The rinse lasted thirty seconds, this happened three times and the water was washed over me. Once again I was submerged in toxic chemicals, this was the fixer. This human stated, either to me or someone else, “this will stop the film from being sensitive to light.” This human has prevented my film from being over exposed by sunlight or any light for that fact. This fixer wash lasted about seven minutes to which at the end of the wash I was provided another wild ride, agitated from left to right for ten seconds—lasting a horrifying ten minutes. And if that wasn’t enough, this human would slam the canister onto the table, confidently stating to someone, “this will cause any and every air pocket to disappear.”
Can you believe this guy! Not only is he torturing me but he’s trying to kill me! He’s trying to remove every bit of air I have…aaarrrgghhh. After the fixer, he empties it back into its bottle and given another eight ounces of water—again at 65 degrees. This was the most difficult experience for me thus far. I was filled with water and agitated five times and emptied. He mimics this task twenty times, yes, you heard me, twenty times I went through this process. This torture lasted forever, each agitation had to be done slowly.
I’m not sure how long I was inside being agitated, I blacked out a few times, however, I was eventually release from my cell. I wrongly believed my hell was over but I was wrong. I was dumped into something called photo flo for thirty seconds. This photo flo liquid wasn’t so bad; it caused the excess water to slide off of me, This smooth chemical prevented any stains from appearing on me. After thirty seconds of a soothing bath this human carried me to something called the squeegee, apparently it is designed to remove the photo flo liquid and make me dry.
I don’t recall what happened in this squeegee, I fainted once seeing the monstrosity. I felt dry and began to relax, I began to curl up…you know, the way I was originally in my Kodak case. To my horror the human had two shiny silver metal like devices, the first device he opened and clipped to my head, in pain I curled up faster. The human than grabbed the other device, it resembled the first clip but seemed to be bulkier on the bottom. When this device was attached to my bottom, I was immediately stretched out, I was perfectly straight, the pain was to great I was unable to squeal in pain. This device was some sort of weight and it prevented me from curling up once again. With joy this human carried me to a plastic sphere, which he unzipped and hung me on a small hook…with his other victims. He zipped up the sphere and walked away with great content in the terrible acts he committed against.
Believing it was finally over and my end had come, I learned from the other rolls hanging beside me in this hell, that the human will return tomorrow and remove these hooks. He will than use a sharp appliance and divide me into five equal pieces and store me into plastic—for how long, I do not know—but I was told even after being sliced, the horrors continue. My terrified gaze was directed to a large machine that will shine a bright and extremely hot light through me.
Hope you enjoy the story above, granted that many other procedures may have been left out, as I stated earlier, this was an assignment from high school.
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