Monday, September 28, 2009

Films photographers (and kids) love: 'Wait Until Dark'

I rented another childhood favorite for me and my little one today. 'Wait Until Dark' stars Audry Hepburn as the blind photographer's wife who is being stalked by a trio of bad dudes lead by the eee-vil, Jack-Kerouac-sound-alike Mr. Roat (played by Alan Arkin who would later play John Cusack's hilariously nervous - and scene stealing - psychiatrist in Grosse Pointe Blank).

Most of the film takes place in a basement apartment - a perfect place for a darkroom studio. The darkroom itself isn't enclosed, it's just in the middle of the apartment, away from the windows. The windows in the kitchen are light-proofed with metal crank shades. During one point Susy (Hepburn) helps her husband by passing fiber paper from the stop bath through the hypo stage WITH HER BARE HANDS!! (at 8:12 above) Later, she'd outwit her adversary by replacing the flower vase water with a photo chemical. I have to admit, I thought the script should have placed fixer...or better yet! selium toner in the vase. (Take THAT bad guy!) But alas, she temporarily blinds Dr. Evil with hypoclear (slight stinging sensation, at 7:24 below).

I had forgotten about the Henry Mancini soundtrack. Groovy. And about her amazing fall coat collection. And about the child in the film. Gloria is a highlight of the film. My kid especially liked her spunk.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Processing film is so easy a 7 year old can do it least mine can!

Since I don't think his little hands are quite ready to feed film onto a plastic reel in the confines of a black bag, I did that part for him. But come to think of it, I'll sacrifice some expired film this weekend just so he can practice.

For this first venture into the world of processing, my kid poured the chemicals in and out of the tank, and kept hawk-like eyes on the stopwatch. We used Diafine since temperature and precision timing aren't critical to this cheap two-part developer, plus we can skip the Stop bath step. He was so elated to see the film be pulled off the reels. "Just like Christmas" I told him.

For next time I'll probably get some rubber gloves since the use of Fixer made me a little nervous. Academic principals reinforced: Focus, counting backwards, following directions, manipulatives. All great practice particularly if your child is ADD/ADHD.