It's Only a Paper Moon!


Feel like experimenting? Don’t want to wait for your film to get processed? Wish you had an instant back for ALL your cameras with matching film sizes? Look no further!!!

One day I felt like having some fun with some of my cameras, but I didn’t want to spend an entire roll of film right away, or waste to many expensive polaroids (being a poor student). That’s when I thought; “why not try to load them with photographic paper instead of film?”

It’s all about the emulsion anyways!

So I searched the internet to see if anyone had any experience doing this, and I found that someone actually did! Of course a lot of pinhole-photographers uses it, but, to my surprise, quite a few large-format shooters also uses it!

So what I did was I loaded some of my cameras with a piece of paper cut to fit a few millimeters wider than the area where the film would normally be exposed. The paper should have the emulsion side towards the lens (of course).

And this must be carried out in DARKNESS, except from a red dark-room lamp!

You can cut the paper to fit most cameras, I think.

  • At least every camera that I own, including 24×36, 120, 126, 127, 620 and what ever format you may wish to use!
  • One thing to consider though, is to cover the little red window on the back if your camera has such!
    I forgot, as you can see on one of my first tries!:(

What I learned from reading about other people’s experiences, was that most people rate photographic paper as iso 5-6 ( but this may vary, depending on which brand you use. Some brands goes to iso 25!
So you may have to run a few test shots…)

Now, I used a light meter telling me which exposure to use, rating the paper as iso 6 (some exposures were as long as 2 minutes!), and went in the darkroom.

When I put the pieces of paper in the developer, one by one, a series of paper negatives emerged right in front of my eyes!

After drying the negatives, i tried doing a few contact-prints (which is a whole different tipster.)
and after that I scanned them all.

This is a great way of making pictures in a somewhat old-fashioned way.
And you’ll surely find yourself composing in a whole different way since everything is so much slower!
Go for it!

written by michell on 2011-08-16 #gear #tutorials #art #experimental #long-exposure #mx #tipster #darkroom #processing #select-type-of-tipster #select-what-this-tipster-is-about #paper-negative


  1. pomps
    pomps ·

    Great idea! Look forward to try it!

  2. hewzay
    hewzay ·

    brilliant article!

  3. mcrstar
    mcrstar ·

    good thing

  4. freckleface
    freckleface ·

    love it :)

  5. domo-guy
    domo-guy ·

    Nice pictures! :D

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