This photo is from a scan made at a photo lab but somewhere in my photo albums is a print I made myself in a darkroom. Darkroom printing is interesting but I don’t have anywhere in my present house to do it.
I am uploading old photos while waiting for interesting new ones to come through my ‘evaluate and develop’ pipeline. Since I’ve mentioned it, let me explain what happens to a photo from camera to photo album.
1. When I finish a roll of film I send it to a lab for processing. Negative film can be done here in Gangneung but black and white and slide films have to be sent to Seoul.
2. A few days later I get my processed film along with 3600×2400 scans. This size looks good on the computer and is large enough for prints. The film goes into a folder on my desk and the roll scan gets imported into Lightroom. Each roll of film gets its own folder with the date and roll number as the folder name along with a short description. For example, “20150605-001 Anmok Harbour”. These folders go into a parent folder called “000 Imported”. I look these scans over once and smile or cry, depending on the photos . . . .
3. The next day I look at the photos again and mark the decent ones with one star. The film folder then gets moved to another folder called “001 1 star”. The three digit numbers in the parent folder names are to keep them in order in the folder menu.
4. A day later I look at the photos again and remove the 1 star rating from any pictures that don’t look so good after a day’s rest. I make adjustments such as curves and clarity to the remaining 1 star photos and move the film folder to “002 Developed”.
5. The next day I look over the photos again, remove any 1 star rating if necessary, and then name each photo in the roll. Each photo name is the same as the folder name plus a frame number and minus the description. E.g., “20150605-001-001”. I then add a caption to the file’s metadata. “Cat looking unhappy, 2015”. The file folder then gets moved to “003 Named and Captioned”.
6. After a good night’s rest I look at the photos again, take away stars if necessary, and then move the film folder to “004 Ready for Lab”. At the same time, I copy the 1 star photos to a folder on my computer called “Background Photos”. Pictures in this folder are displayed one at a time as the computer’s desktop background and get changed every fifteen minutes. This is a way to continuously look at potential keepers even when I’m not using Lightroom.
7. Every day a new film folder gets put into “004 Ready for Lab” and when I have twenty or thirty 1 star photos I transfer them to a USB drive and bring them to the lab to get 4×6 prints. When I get home the film folders in “004 Ready for Lab” get moved to “005 Printed”. Then I go through the process of writing the photo name on the back of each print so I can find the film later if I want to make bigger prints. I usually do this to the pictures of one film folder per day. Once a print has its number written on the back I put it into an album or envelope. The film gets put into archival sleeves with the film number on a label and stored in a photo archival binder. The film folder on my computer then gets sent to the appropriate parent folder organised by year. So, the final resting place of file folder 20150605-001 would be Pictures –> 2015 –> 20150605-001. The photos in “Background Photos” get removed and replaced with new photos that are piling up in “004 ready for Lab”.
This seems like a rather long process but I’ve made it long in order to look at my photos often and, after several days or a week, with some objectivity. This saves me money at the print stage and, I hope, prevents me from sharing terrible photos with the world. Dull still gets through . . . .