C-41 for the people


I’m one of those people who is really attached to colour. The colour of an object is as important as its function for me. With that, black and white photography has just never held the same fascination for me.

But it seems that chemicals for black and white film development are much easier to get. It is the standard mode for photography classes, I’m assuming because printing black and white is far simpler than colour, so the same process can be followed all of the way through.

Credits: kevinhodur

C-41 is my thing, though. The Tetanal C-41 press kit is the closest I can get to a proper bit of chemistry, as it seems that customer-sized C-41 chemicals are becoming quite rare. And forget about E-6.

Like many other people, I sometimes have that daydream of what I would do if I had a bunch of money. If I were indeed filthy rich, I’d try to buy the film division off of Kodak. Not only for the preservation of the films we all love to use (I’m addicted to Ektar for my nature photography), but also to make simple consumer chemistry kits easily available. Aiming only for processing labs is a losing proposition as average consumers move on with digital photography.

I like not having to worry about batteries, memory space, or anything else electronic. I have my roll of film, a kind of battery of memories, a counter, and the world around me. I don’t print my negatives, as I’d rather scan them and share them that way. Just because I’m analogue doesn’t mean I’m opposed to the digital. It just has its place, and the cult of digital, worshipping something simply because it’s digital (and therefore “better”) is incredibly unhealthy.

Credits: kevinhodur

So Kodak, or AGFA, or LSI, or anyone else who has the resources to do this, give us consumer kits for C-41 and E-6. Developing colour film is incredibly simple, inexpensive, and is currently just a matter of chemical access. We’ll spread the word, you spread the product.

written by kevinhodur on 2013-03-02

One Comment

  1. asharnanae
    asharnanae ·

    We are lucky here in england that all types of processing chems, in small and large quantities, are quite readily available via the internet, and from a few stores. How much it would cost to ship/import to america i'm not sure..... but firstcall photographic in the UK does do all the chems anyone would ever need colour and B&W.

    My personal bugbear of loss if the multi tonning process of Colorvir.... sadly it has gone, I got one of the last kits I could find, a few years ago. Not seen hide nor hair of it since, sadly.