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MIT student blogger Michael C. '16

What has carcinogenic chemicals, alum bloggers, and ~art~? by Michael C. '16

embracing my inner hipster

Some people can draw. My friend Alison, for example, drew this fabulous “artistic representation” (read: picture) of our Google+ hangout. Yes, that is my Chrome beanie.

those glasses are like 1/1000 of my career fair haul

I, alas, cannot draw.  Despite living in a very mural-happy dorm, I can’t paint to save my life. But I do like to photograph a lot, and in fact I’ve done quite a lot of it in the past few years. Some people are obsessed with their cars; I have my D60.

While I’ve done a ton of digital photography, though, I’ve (literally) never touched film before. And that’s where this post comes in.

You see, if you ever take the elevator in the Student Center up to the fourth floor and wander around until you find a door with a multicolored “Technique” sign over it, you’ll have found MIT’s photography club. And it’s pretty awesome.

the font geek in me loves that sign

They’ve got tons of very high-tech equipment, with more Mac Pros and giant monitors and multi-thousand-dollar lenses than you can shake several sticks at. And my favorite software in the world, Lightroom.

Alex is in way too many of my blog photos

But this post is about a darkroom.

shake shake shake

Let’s be clear: I am a digital photographer, through and through. This is what I do after a day of shooting:

my first gif ever!

But of course, being a hipster in denial, if there’s two ways to do something, I’ll try out the more cumbersome and “retro” way. And sticking my SD card into my laptop is way too simple. This is why I found myself today heading into the darkroom with Technique’s friendly film aficionado, Walter, to develop my first roll of film ever. (amusingly, I used to make fun of all my friends in high school who shot film (see: the aforementioned Alison), and here I am)

The first step involved taking scissors, cutting off the end of a roll of film, fastening that film to a developing reel via two teeny prongs, winding it up, and sealing it in a stainless steel container. In complete darkness. Walter watched, amused (at least I assumed he watched…it was, as I said, pitch black) at my noobish attempts.

A few minutes later, ten fingers intact, it was time for the darkroom (which, incidentally, was not all that dark). In here, we basically poured chemicals into our containers, and vigorously shook/banged them on the table.  For ten minutes, in ten second intervals.  It was actually quite fun, although by the end of it my arms were thankful for the digital photography revolution.

By the way, did I mention who else was in the darkroom? A blogger alum! Here is the (in?)famous rfong, looking very nonplussed by these fangirling frosh:

if you look up 'nonplussed' in the dictionary I'm pretty sure this picture comes up

(the conversation went roughly like this:  “Hi, I’m Mich-whoa you’re rfong.”  “You don’t look like your avatar.”  “Yeah, neither do y–OH CRAP WE HAVE TO SHAKE OUR FILM”)

Anyways, after being mishandled in a dark room, sealed in a container, thrown in a bath of chemicals, and being vigorously shaken about, my film did emerge at the end, developed. (I’m sure there’s a metaphor in there somewhere about being an MIT student, but I have to study for my 7.012 midterm right now)

So until next time – adieu!

hipsters are too cool for labels

(adieu is the hipster way of saying goodbye)