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Photochemical Initiatives – A Workshop with A Free School

October 13, 2013 @ 8:00 pm – October 18, 2013 @ 9:00 am
A Free School
1790 Baker Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012


Photochemical Initiatives – An Abstract:

In this two part workshop with A Free School, participants will discuss and explore the art of photochemistry for motion picture film by composing from a selection of raw chemicals a variety of rare tinters, toners, bleaches and emulsions.

Attending the Workshop [Dates, Fees & Requirements]:

This workshop is being produced by A Free School in Los Angeles, CA and will be taking place on two separate days: Chemical Mixology – October 13th, 2013, 2:00 PM – 6:00 PM PST; Handmade Emulsion – Ocotober 17th, 7:00 PM – 11:59 PM PST.

The workshop is free of charge but is limited to 2013-2014 students of AFS. There are no other requirements for participation.


Selected Screenings:

We will be selecting films for exhibition during this workshop which utilize handmade emulsion as part of the dialect of their production. Not every work listed below will be shown in it’s entirety, or perhaps even at all. Additionally, only some will be shown in their native format:

  • Salt (Martha Jurksaitis)
  • At Hand (Andre Busti)


Resources for this workshop can be downloaded here and general resources can be found in the resource section of our website.

Additionally, these books & articles are recommended for those who wish to explore the subject matter deeper, many of which can be secured at local libraries or on the web:

  • The Master Photographers Toning Book (Tim Rudman)
  • The Darkroom Cookbook (Steve G Anchell)
  • The Film Developing Cookbook (Steve G Anchell & Bill Troop)
  • Silver Gelatin: A User’s Guide To Liquid Photographic Emulsion (Martin Read & Sarah Jones)
  • Photographic Emulsion Chemistry (G.F. Duffin)
  • Tinting and Toning of Eastman Motion Picture Film and various other ephemera on Brian Pritchard website.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: I’ve never worked with motion picture film before. Will that limit my experience?

A: No, experience with motion picture film is not necessary when participating in the workshop and we will try and accommodate as many questions you have possible before, during or after the workshop.

Q: I have some film I would like to bring into the workshop to work with. Is this okay?

A: Yes, but there are a few things you should keep in mind when bringing in film for this workshop. First off, because we will be limited on time, your film should already be processed. This will not affect your ability to work with any of the techniques presented in the workshop per say. Second, it is recommended that you avoid bringing in a film of particular value or significance as we cannot guarantee that it will not be damaged or ruined beyond a usable extent. This is, after all, a workshop on essentially destroying film — so the choice is entirely yours.

If you do decide to bring film, there are a few things you should keep in mind: first, while it is possible to exercise some of the techniques reviewed in this workshop on all varieties of film, the majority of the techniques work best specifically with an image formed of silver. What this means is that black and white film (which is typically formed solely of silver) will be the most versatile stock to bring, where as color stocks will be more limited (as they typically have the silver removed in processing). The only exception to this is in regards to color film that has been bleach-bypassed, a specific lab technique which retains the silver in the dense regions of the color emulsion; if the utilization of color film in this workshop is of particular interest to you, than email us to discuss the topic further — additionally, we will be discussing it in the workshop itself.

As for film guage (i.e. super-8mm, 16mm, 35mm, 70mm, etc), we will have equipment to deal with all shapes and sizes of celluloid, so this should not be of a concern…

Q: I missed the opportunity to attend this workshop. Will you be running it again?

A: If the demand exist, absolutely. Send us an email or message requesting it.

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