it’s home to print we go …

colour printing brochures and book

Toronto. For about the last half of the last century I enjoyed doing darkroom work and processing of both negatives and prints. In the 1960s and 70s, this included colour processing using paper and chemistry of the day. And beginning just prior to the 1960s, I also processed transparencies – positive 35mm colour film using an alternative tri-pack process to Kodachrome based on the pre-war/wartime work of Agfa.

I began colour processing with a cheap enlarger, home made filters, Ferrania colour chemicals and paper. I ended my colour processing days with good filters (C,M,Y) a drum, and modern high temperature chemistry. Along the way, I learned that colour developers had an extremely short life; most of the processing time went towards colour balancing and exposure adjustment; colour prints could not be corrected for contrast and look good; technique (other than cropping) could not be changed; etc. In fact, the best you could do was ensure the prints were technically correct. Any artistic action had to be taken when the colour negative was exposed.  Bad negative? Bad print! End of story. Other than some correction for over exposure, of course.

When I first tried the new chemistry and a drum, the paper had a pink overcast that even confused the photography store clerk in Montreal. Later, I happened to read that Kodak paper was very sensitive to temperature and went pinkish in high temperature. A switch to Agfa paper solved my pink overcast.

Sadly, the rapid transition to one hour processing shops by retailers made home colour processing more expensive, not cheaper as we had experienced with home developed black and white. That ended my venture into colour processing.

NB. The post title is a riff on the 1937 Disney songHeigh Ho” in the animated film “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs“.

Disney’s version of the old German fairy tale was the first full colour feature-length animation. And also the first film ever to have a sound track recording offered. I saw it as a child in the early 1940s. It was shown in the only “first run” movie house in the small town where I then lived. I still remember the colour, the animation, the golden ‘V for victory’ over the screen and the red velvet ropes to cordon off patron line ups. Those were the days when movies opened in the States and big cities many months before finding their way to “first run” theatres in small towns like mine.

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