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Fully Caffeinated

I’ve been doing a little bit of research on developing film. I found a list of chemistry needed to develop the film such as the developer, and the fixer etc. But then you start your search to find a place that sells them all online since there are no local distributors. You find out very quickly that there doesn’t seem to be any one stop shop. The chemicals aren’t super expensive but if you factor in shipping and the fact I need all of them it won’t take long to spend a few bucks. I’m not looking to make a big investment in to this project, especially in the early stages of learning and screwing up. If I find the end product is something I love and want to continue with, that could change my financial investment in to the project.

Anyways if you mess around long enough on the internet trying to find your way, you run in to a term called Caffenol. Caffenol turns out to be a very interesting and low cost way of developing not only your film but your actual prints as well. What is in Caffenol you ask? Surprisingly one of the main ingredients is instant coffee, yeah you read that right. The other ingredients are washing soda, vitamins c powder and good old distilled water. With a few phone calls I’m quite certain I can source out the washing soda and vitamins c powder fairly quickly and locally for a fraction of the cost of the regular chemistry people are used to. I seen one instance where someone substituted the instant coffee for red wine and that was pretty successful as well. To learn more about Caffenol check out caffenol.org. From further reading it seems like I still need a chemical fixer. I will continue to read up on this.

In 1995 Dr. Scott Williams from The Technical Photographic Class at RIT developed this method using standard household items. He had tested mixtures of tea and coffee with agents to balance the pH levels and managed to make printable images. The name Caffenol later became the term used to describe this method.

Clearly I have a fascination with the simplicity of Caffenol and I must try it.

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