When I was in high school our classrooms were overcrowded. Our textbooks were decades old. But somehow I was able to get access to an old darkroom and some 35mm film. The darkroom intrigued me. And photo assignments gave me an excuse to get outside and sneak a smoke. So, I found my dad’s old Canon AT-1 in the basement and started shooting.
On a recent trip back East, I dug up an album with some of my old photos, negatives, and contact sheets. For those that haven’t developed film before, it’s worth noting that developing film is a lengthy process. Google is more than happy to explain, so I won’t get into it here.
After developing your film, if you’re lucky, you get a set of negatives. You then cut those negatives into strips. You arrange the strips (emulsion side down) on top of a sheet of print paper. Then you cover them with a sheet of glass, and expose them under the enlarger to create a contact sheet. From the contact sheet, you determine which shots to create prints from. The entire process, while infuriating at times, is satisfying.
Sometimes I would shoot a full roll of film, only to realize that it was complete garbage. But maybe… just maybe… I would have one good (or even mediocre) shot on the roll. Here are some of the contact sheets that I created in high school. (click to enlarge):