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What can I do with Ilford 5x7 photo paper( no darkroom).? Answered

I got a box of photo paper in the free box at a garage sale, any way to use this without a darkroom? Thanks.


Try this:



7 years ago

You can try making Photograms. It's fun.

You will still need the chemistry (developer, fix), but that's not too expensive.

BTW, if you place a piece of photo paper in strong light for a few of hours, it will "develop out" (darken where light hits it), even without using developer. But you still need "fixer" to keep the image permanently.

(Regardless, only open the box of paper in a completely dark room, or you'll ruin it for use with developer...)

Great idea, how long will it take to darken? Indoor light or sunlight? Thanks.

In sunlight you might begin seeing an effect in under 5 minutes, but takes longer to darken substantially. Indoors it might take 15 or 20 before it's noticeable... And longer get "dark." These are ballpark guesses; it's been a long time since worked with B&W printing (but I used to do it a LOT ;-).

I don't think photo paper ever gets completely black without chemical development, just a dark grey (and leave it out too long and the area in shadow darkens, too, from ambient light).

Sometimes I've seen photo paper change color slightly also, when it darkens without chemical development...although that color change doesn't survive the "fixing" step.

Thanks, maybe I'll just scan the results and play with it in photoshop, I don't know if I want to set up the chemicals.


7 years ago

Here is another idea that just came to me. I once experimented with using photo paper in place of sheet film in view cameras. It creates a negative with some interesting tone effects. Anyway if you have a way of developing the paper you can use it as film in a pinhole camera. A scanner would then be able to reverse the image and give you a digital positive.

During my year of teaching HS, that's exactly what I had students use for film in their pinhole cameras.

You can simply contact print the paper negative to another piece of photo paper to get the positive. A little bit of the texture of the paper base is printed, too. But that's no biggie, considering how easy this makes the process...

In college, we learned to make paper negatives from really thin single-weight photo paper. One of my photo instructors used to then rub in mineral oil to make it more translucent (and a more effective negative). He'd use the big negatives to make gum bichromate prints.


7 years ago

You can make contact prints without an enlarger but developing it might be a different story. To make a contact print you simply lay negatives on the paper, cover it with a glass plate to hold the negatives down flat and expose it to the right amount of light for the correct amount of time. To develop it you will need 3 trays for the different chemicals and running water to wash it. And in order to watch the process you need a low light amber light, also known as a safe light. The paper is designed to be not responsive to frequencies from the safe light.So, in other words its an involved process, And there is the possibility that the paper has been exposed and so ruined. Somebody might have opened the box to peek at what is inside. The only way to tell is to develop a piece.
There are a lot of guides about developing prints. If you want to try it just follow the directions they provide.

All you need is a dark room. or develop it at night. Nice photograms can be made by putting objects on the paper and exposing briefly to light. Local photo shop can advise on chemicals.

What with digital technology gaining pace; perhaps you can offer it to a photography museum so they can protect it properly for showcasing in the future.

It's not as far-fetched as it might sound - I gave my Sinclair ZX80 to a computer museum not so long ago but it's considered good enough to showcase.

Usually, curators will pay p&p.