When I first started in photography, it was with film. I quickly learnt how to develop my own black and white images in a darkroom situated above the Junior Common Room at the college where I studied to become a teacher. Then there was a darkroom at the school where I first taught in the room next door to mine. I also set up a darkroom in the spare bedroom of our first house.
Apart from black and white, I processed colour slides using Ferrania colour film and later tried my hand at colour printing with varying degrees of success.
However, once digital photography became more widespread, I got rid of all my equipment: developing tanks, measuring jugs, thermometers, enlarger etc etc and took to working my pictures on a computer instead. I can’t say that I missed being in the dark with smelly chemicals but there was something magical about watching a print appear in the developing tray.
I can only imagine what it must have been like for those early pioneers of photography who wowed the public with images that had hitherto been impossible to capture except with the skill of an artist’s brush.
There is an exhibition - Salt and Silver: Early Photography 1840-1860 on at Tate Britain, London SW1, until 7 June. Here are some examples of photos from that show.
Even if you are not a photographer, these images provide a fascinating account of life at that time.