There was an element of suspense and excitement that any old school photographer will tell you is so sorely absent these days with all the digital camera gadgets. No matter how competent, a lens man never really knew what he was going to exactly get until the film was developed and printed. Any photographer worth his salt was adept at his craft equally as a skilled lens mans, and also as a laboratory technician inside the darkroom. It was in that red lit room where the other end of the process took place.
Starting from removing the film from its canister, skilled hands would spool the film onto a reel which would be placed inside a developing tank. In measured amounts of time, it would be treated with a developing solution, a stop bath, and finally a fixer. This process would reveal the negatives. Then you would go over to your enlarger, where you place the negatives to project them onto an easel with photographic paper. The paper is then processed again with the same chemicals, a developer, stop bath, and fixer, this time on 3 separate trays. That, in a nutshell, is how you arrive at a photographic print.
It must be mentioned to this DSLR and Photoshop generation that does not realize it never had it so good. The photos assembled here show an era in photography when these methods were the only way to produce pictures. Some old-timers insist, pictures of the old school ways have shown themselves to endure over a hundred years. That remains to be seen of today’s digital counterparts. There is also something the toxic smell of fixer and developing solution will do to excite a thinning number of photographers who still experienced the anticipation of roughing it up inside a darkroom.
So to all you photography buffs of the digital age, please look at these photos with some amount of gratitude. It was in the hands these practitioners of the craft that ultimately paved the way for the development of photography as we know it today.