Tuesday, 22 May 2012

My Analogue Dark-room Minicomic Idea, or 'Will this work?'

Comments are invited - will this idea work?

I want to make a mini comic. Non linear, just images. These black and white images happen to be photos. They currently consist of negatives on traditional still photographic film. Will I succeed in exposing these photos onto a single sheet, which can then be folded out into a mini comic? I don't know. What do YOU think?

Factors to consider:

1. I've not developed photos for 10 years, and my intention is to use the darkroom in the star and shadow cinema, with which i am not familiar, and which seems in a slightly chaotic state (to my eyes) as it is more usually used for developing motion picture film.

2. I do have plenty of paper, and budget for the necessary chemicals.

3. The 8page mini comic format I am aiming at works by folding a (usually) A4 piece of paper in half, in both directions, and then half each half so there are folds enough to make 8 pages on a single sheet of paper. By cutting a slit in the centre you are then able to fold the paper to create a booklet thingy. I envisage that photographic paper, although thicker and with slightly different dimensions, is foldable in the same way 

4. For each of the 8 pages, I plan to expose an image from a different negative. This means 7 eighths of the paper will need to be carefully covered by card, and not accidentally exposed, when 'page 1' gets its blast of light.

5. With a change of negative, page two will next get put under the beam for its treatment, and again the other 7 eighths of the paper will need to be carefully covered. Same process for pages 3 to 8. All through this time, the paper is sensitive to any light that hits it, and I cannot get the pages muddled up. How am I going to label them? How am I going to remember which pages I've done and which ones are still to go? How long will it take to expose 8 separate times, timesed by the number of copies I want (at least ten, ideally 30 plus!)

6. Benefits include that each page is the same size, so the same scale/focus of beam should work for each (no adjustment necessary). And I'll just aim for high contrast rather than fine grainy exposure.

7. Once each eighth of the paper has been separately exposed with its image, and the other 7 eighths has been successfully covered by card EACH TIME without any mixing up which way is up or which page is to come, then and only then do I stick the sheets into the developer, stop and fixer to see what comes up. Moment of truth time.

Well, what do you reckon? Will I manage it? I genuinely would not want to guess...

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