Birthday Weekend in Paris

As some of you may know, May is my birth month.

This year, I decided that I would spend it in Paris.

So here is the thing, I am a fan of Rugby and particularly, Rugby 7s. So around my birthday, the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series final two legs (Paris and London 2017) happen in May right around my birthday. Last year, two things did not allow me to travel to Paris.

One – my visa expired the weekend before.

Two – I had deadlines.

So, I vowed to myself, that the following year, come rain or shine, I will find myself in Paris and here we are. A year later and I got to celebrate my birthday in Paris doing what I love most, travelling, photography and rugby.

This goes to show, with determination, you can make things happen.

Whenever I could, I documented my experience as a TWO-PART vlog for my YouTube channel.

Part One

Part Two

I hope you like it and if you do, please…

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Portraits: Richard + Cynthia + Inaya

My first attempt in ‘Baby Bump’ photography I did a while back and I have to say, pretty please with the results. Now that I have ‘more time’ on my hands, I do hope I get to do more of these.

My guinea pigs are dear friends of mine, Richard and Cynthia, shot in their local park one sunny summer afternoon.

All I can say is, it was a fun shoot all done in natural light. As long as Cynthia was comfortable, Richard and I were too.

Here is to Baby Inaya…who will be turning 4 this year. Well, how time flies!

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I Still Cannot Believe It…

…I am an Art Programme finalist.

My latest vlog sees me attend an Intellectual Property Law Workshop at the Travers Smith LLC offices as part of the CSR Art Programme.

Last year, during the degree show, my “Women in Sports” project was selected to be part of the programme as it helps us, as students, to transition from studying to the real world. When it comes to creative degrees, there is a huge gap when it comes to learning/knowing your rights as an artist and how to run yourself as a business/brand. This is where the lucky few who are picked to be in the programme get to learn about from professionals on the field, while at the same time, have their artwork displayed in the offices for the academic year.

I hope you enjoy watching the vlog.

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How I Developed Black & White 35mm Film in a Darkroom

Apologies for the sound quality, esp. when showing the film developing time charts. 

Processing B&W film takes at least an hour and I did an InstaStories of the process that I uploaded on my Youtube Channel.

I shot an Ilford FP4 125 B&W film some time back and the roll of film had been living in my handbag for God knows how long and since I have limited access to a darkroom (that shall not be named), I decided to make the most of it.

Apparently, you are supposed to process film as soon as you finish photographing, but I have seen images from film rolls that have been processed several years or decades after they were shot and they look great. So, on that note, I went ahead and processed my roll.

Here is how I went about my process:

What’s in the box?

1x Film Developing Tank (Canister)
2x Film Spirals/Reel
1x Film Squeegee
1x Safety Goggles
1x Scissors
1x ‘C’ Clamp

Dry Side

Film Opener

Wet Side

Film developing chemicals
Water Bath
Wetting Agent

What Each Chemical Does

Developer – the clue is in the name really. In this particular darkroom, I am not sure which brand of chemical is being used as there are different kinds. All I know is that for 35mm film, in my case the FP4, I used 200ml worth of developer and mix it with 200ml of water – 1:1 ratio. And the developer I used cannot be used again. For my film, I had to agitate the chemical for 10mins. Hitting the tank on the side helps in removing air bubbles when developing the film. Inside any box of Ilford film, there are technical instructions which come in handy to help with the processing.

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Stop Bath – This is used to stop the film from developing further and is agitated for only a minute and the chemical can be reused until it becomes dead.

Fixer – This chemical stabilises the images on the film and is the final stage in processing the film.  You agitate it for at least 6mins, not forgetting to remove the air bubbles. The fixer can be used again.

Water – Used to rinse all the chemicals from the film and this takes the longest time at 15mins.

Wetting Agent – this helps prevent watermarks on the film when drying it. Very helpful especially in hard water areas like London.

Things I noticed whilst I was doing this:

1. The black stem inside the developing tank was upside down 😂
2. I should have gently moved the film reel in the water rinse
3. Goggles, gloves and an apron were available, but I didn’t use them. They should be worn for health & safety reasons really.

As you can see towards the end of my video, the lab technician was kind enough to show how the film is rolled onto the reel as this part is done in the dark and the two options of holding it down in the tank when only processing one roll. Which I failed to do 😱. I realised that without doing this, I could have ended up with a film that was not fully developed had the reel moved up the stem when I was agitating it with the developer. Lesson learnt!

And there you have it, that is how I develop Black and White film in a darkroom.

I only know of one place where you can process your own Black and White film and that is the Camera Club in London. You can only do this if you join to become a member and no, I have not been asked to say this.

Otherwise, you are left to drop off your film to any one of the few labs left around London, like Metro Imaging, Photofusion, BayeuxSnappy Snaps or Boots with the last two being on the budget end of film developing. Or, buy the kit needed from stores like Calumet or SilverPrint and do it at home.

I can’t wait to show you the photographs from this film.

Do you think Black and White film developing is something you would like to do?

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