Printing film from 2008

Recently, I discovered negatives from 2008 in one of my storage boxes. How crazy is that?! It was amazing to see the first rolls I developed on my own when I was 15. Which was half my life ago... wow. In this set of negatives were some prints that I made from several images along with contact sheets. Due to the timing, I decided to make a very special image. This image is of my childhood dog, Angie. It was the first film photo that I printed on my own, and printing it again all these years later was emotional, to say the least. Especially since I printed it a few days before the 11-year anniversary of her death. 

Angie on her favorite ottoman, soaking up the summer sun.


The light of my life and my savior was Angie. I had a very difficult childhood and without her, it would have been very different and infinitely worse. That dog was the best thing that ever happened to me, and by extension, my family. She kept me whole and loved when I didn't feel like I had any worth. She was SO intuitive and knew when I needed her. When I came home crying (which was most days, because kids are mean and middle school sucks), Angie would be there. She would kiss my tears away, nuzzle my face, and cuddle with me. Interesting how something so simple meant the world to me. How I made it to 30 without her is a mystery to me some days. On other days, I know she's still here with me and always will be. Love you forever, Angiemuffin.

Summer of 2008

The image above is a scan. It was taken during summer at my childhood home in Portola Valley, CA. Angie loved the sun patches by those windows and started napping on the floor or the ottomans. It always depended on where the sun was. She would move with it (our dogs now do that too, which is so cute!) What I love about this image is that she is so peaceful and content and that the photo shows her normally. It was kind of trippy, watching the print develop, because of the lines. I got a slight headache watching it develop until the image resolved and I could realize what I was seeing. It was an odd optical illusion.

Let's start printing!

Popped the print into the developer

My print, fully developed and through the stop bath, now in the fixer.


I put my phone on a custom darkroom mode with the brightness turned all the way down to capture these. There is a way to set your screen to color filters for nighttime shooting and/or darkroom work. Additionally, I made sure that nobody else was printing in the darkroom so as not to disturb them or potentially mess with their images. 

Recently I started volunteering at a local darkroom, and it has been so relaxing to spend time there. It had been almost 10 years since I'd last worked in a darkroom, and it was like riding a bike. The ease with which I fell back into it was surprising, but also really nice. Lately, I have been printing RC paper (I have never printed fiber paper, so this is what I am used to) but decided to switch it up for this print. Not only did I use fiber paper, but I used LARGE paper. These prints are 11" x 14". Oddly enough though, I wasn't worried.

So excited to see my print!

One of the later versions of the print. You can see sprocket holes at the bottom where I accidentally jostled the frame.

2014 Intermediate Photography at the University of Redlands was the last time I printed larger than 8" x 10". We were instructed to print on paper at least 11" x 14". I decided to print a photo that I loved of a college friend and made it smaller than you'd expect with a large border. There were specific reasons for this, but my professor didn't want to hear it. My critique was rough, and that prevented me from making large prints again. She didn't like that I didn't fill the space, which was her preference. 

(Almost) 10 years later, things have changed

For this print, I wanted the image to fill more of the frame, but as I continued to adjust the exposure time and filter strength, I realized that I wanted a slightly bigger frame. So I extended it from 1/2" to 3/4" and it actually ended up looking a lot better!

One of the best parts of printing an image that I had already printed before was that I had the original contact sheet with notes on exposure times! I have to remember to start doing that again.... it really saved a LOT of time and effort, not to mention paper! Fiber paper is typically more expensive than RC paper and it has several extra steps in the development process, so it's also more time-consuming.

Let's talk about fiber printing

In addition to the normal developer, stop bath, fix, and wash processes that RC paper goes through, fiber paper has an additional few. There are two fixes that it goes through, two washes, a permawash, and a final wash. The second wash and permawash are each 5 minutes and the final wash is 10 minutes. After that, I pulled my prints out of the wash to squeegee them like normal and put them on the drying rack!

In the video above, the prints you see are halfway through the second wash. All of the steps prior are in the darkroom, but the second wash, permawash, and final wash are all outside the darkroom. This isn't necessarily standard, but that is the setup for this darkroom.

Here are the steps for properly printing & processing fiber paper:

*Disclaimer* All times can vary depending on the paper, exposure time, and chemicals. These times are not set in stone!

  1. Developer - About a minute or so, depending on the paper
  2. Stop Bath - 10 seconds
  3. Fix 1 - 1 minute
  4. Fix 2 - 1 minute
  5. Wash 1 - 5 minutes
  6. Wash 2 - 5 minutes
  7. Permawash - 5 minutes
  8. Final Wash - 10 minutes

If you're working with other people printing in a darkroom, ALWAYS make sure that fiber and RC prints are separated when going through chemicals and the wash!! RC paper can scratch fiber paper if they're swirling around together, so please be cautious. Otherwise, have fun with it!

A print in the second fix before going in the first wash!

The first batch of prints to go through the first wash.

Final touches

Onto the squeegee board, it goes! Here you can see me pulling out one of my final two prints for evaluation, squeegee-ing (is that a word?) it, and putting it onto the screen. This drying rack screen then went on one of the bottom shelves to wait and dry. Yay!!! I could hardly wait to get my prints the next day.

The next day, I came back to a stack of prints ready to be pressed! I pressed all of them, regardless of whether they were a draft or one of the final series. This makes prints easier to store and the process is soothing. However, I had like 20 prints to press...sigh.

My stack of dried prints! Let's do this!

The press I used is called a hot press. You use the press at a temperature of about 270° Fahrenheit, and after a minute in the press, each image goes under a cooling press that is then held down with a heavy slab. This keeps it flat and helps the print retain its shape as it cools. 

The final two prints are ready to be pressed!

Ta-da!! The final print is pressed and ready to go.

Oh my gosh, I'm... done?

WOW. My draft prints are all pressed and packaged, so now what? It's time to sign and number my final prints! For this, I used a Staedtler Pigment Liner 308 in 0.3 width. Don't ask me why, but that is my favorite liner pen width to work with. I usually stick with 0.1 and 0.3, but will sometimes go to 0.5 if I'm feeling experimental. I signed and numbered the two print editions before slipping them into archival sleeves. One is for me, and the other one is going to a mystery recipient. (Who will get the print? It's a surprise!)

Printing these images again after all these years was an emotional roller coaster for me. I don't think I can put into words all that Angie means to me. Even after 11 years, I miss her like crazy and wish I could talk to her. Her death haunts me and the anniversary of it gets harder every year. I honestly don't know if it is May 10th or 11th, since I had to piece together clues from Facebook to figure it out. But I know wherever she is, Angie is safe and at peace. Thanks for being my safe haven for all these years, Angie. I love you forever and always. 

보고싶어 Angie. 영원히 사랑해요.

xoxo, Taryn