I bet you've all been waiting to hear what was in those little Ilford cans. I know I was. I read some old notes and some new web posts on developing film, as it's been 5 years since finishing uni, and then we had the luxury of magical machines to do the job perfectly for us. I think there was only about 2 times when I processed B&W film myself in those 3 years.
That was the thing at uni. We didn't develop colour film by chemicals either. That was another magical machine. Those were the days...
We also didn't develop colour prints with chemicals, it wasn't even an option I don't think. I'm sure if if been offered it I would have literally lept at the chance. We had another magical machine for prints, too.
That's why I'm working solely in black and white because I wouldn't have a clue where to start with colour.
Anyway, I digress.
So after some thinking about where to start with processing these negs if they did need it, I sat in the pitch black and dubiously unscrewed them all.
It turned out that all these canisters had film packed tightly into them, already developed. This is not the best method for storing negs for 50 years! They are unruly. It took me about 2 hours to get through them all, dusting and cutting and sorting then into new homes.
I've much stuff left over from those uni days and so I've many paper negative sleeves (my preferred choice as the plastic ones are incredibly static) - but they do come with drawbacks.
Contact printing in the darkroom can't be done as effectively through the paper neg sleeves, as texture from the paper is transferred onto the print. If they were plastic, the light shining through is uninterrupted and you can get away without using a proper contact print glass press, and just whack them on top of your photo paper and bobs your uncle.
So for these special curly wurly negs I am taking a different stance to contact prints. This way I'll be able to leave them in their negative sleeves. I've decided to place them on a light box, with a sheet of glass holding them down, to see if I can take photos of them well enough to give my client some good ideas of what images she has.
(There are lots! We have 11 sets of full rolls, all black and white, all with developed images but some better exposures than others).
I AM SO EXCITED to take another look at them. And can't wait to see which ones she selects for enlargement prints!