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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Where To Buy Obscure Darkroom Materials



It can be a bit disorienting to ponder the realities of a world in which Kodak is no longer the standard bearer for all things darkroom related. After all, those of us who grew up on film—as well as the younger ones who've simply gravitated to this "antiquated" approach to photography—always turned to those yellow boxes to find our anchor in the darkroom realm. In actual fact, even a decade ago when film was still the de facto standard and Kodak was still king there was another resource catering especially to darkroom photographers who wanted access to truly antique photographic process. It's the Photographers' Formulary. Way back when I was a photo student I shopped via catalog from the Photographers' Formulary for non-silver photographic materials—things like emulsions, bleaches and toners for processes from Van Dyke to Cyanotype to Platinum Printing. I mention them today because I was pleased to learn via a catalog in my mailbox (note that the old-school photographic resource relies on the old-school snail mail approach) that Photographers' Formulary is still in business and still the place to turn if you're interested in antique photographic processes. Let's hope simple silver halide film and chemistry has a long life ahead of it before becomes truly antique. Still, if you're interested in darkroom film, papers, chemistry and techniques, be sure to visit photoformulary.com to learn more about the company's products and workshop services, which include everything from introductions to silver darkroom processes to in-depth explorations of wet plate collodion and daguerreotype photography. A marvelous resource two decades ago, and even more necessary now.

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