aside from sending rolls of 110 or 127vp to the local drug store or fotomat, or mail away to yorks i processed my own black and white film. when i was in high school i learned about developing film, and putting the developed, procesed black and white negatives into those plastic sleeves. for the better part of 10 years i put a sheet of photo paper under the developed film and exposed it in a bright light for a few seconds, and then into the developer and fix and wash like a lot of people, contact sheets were my go-to way of viewing negatives after they were shot, processed and ready to print.
i’d look at the sheets, and circle or “X” the views to print or not to print, and keep track of things. in some cases the contact sheet is all i have left after i had a flood and a bunch of my best negatives turned to clear film / emulsion soup. as time wen ton for some reason, maybe it was becasue $$ was scarce and i wanted to save my paper for prints, or because so many of my exposures were all over the place that a contact sheet would only show part of the story, or maybe i just got lazy, and stopped making contact prints. i got good at looking at the negative and seeing the print reversed. i saw the contrast and somehow decided it was good enough.
i miss making contact sheets, but unfortunately 27 years worth of procesed film to make contact sheets of ,or 4×5 or bigger negatives to make contact sheets of is a daunting task and i would rather not bother. back in the late 90s i bought a umax1200 scanner and it was fantastic. it did everyting i needed, and i think i still have it in a box. it was nice becasue i could scann all size film upto 5×7. and i started scanning film instead of making contact sheets and it worked out as a good compromise.
i use a couple of nikon digital slr’s as well as film, they aren’t new but a d100 and d200, they do what i need them to do, and i like that. when i make a bunch of exposures i still make contact sheets of them believe it or not, sometimes they are postiiveprooof sheets, and sometimes they are negatives. today i wandered around the streets or providence ri, and have plans for digital negatives. i worked on the frames and turned them into contact sheets to bring to the xerox shop. im not a machine gunner, i don’t click and look except once in a while to make sure the meter was working. the camera is set to 1 frame at a time and i take my time as if i am using a film camera. if i had a film camera i would have shot just as many views and sat on the curb or stone wall to unload and load the camera and maybe i would have runout of film. i’ll be heading out to staples tomorrow to see what is what. my local copy shop charges 10x what staples charges for regular copies, so whilei want to support my local shop im not that rich. i’ll be getting paper as well as OHP film to see if there is a difference and making cyanotypes soon.