HOW DOES PHOTOGRAPHY WORK? : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

What exactly is a photograph? How is the image made?

-- RANDALL KEITH SHIELDS (, May 05, 2000


Rather than explain it all again here, see the theory portion of my article on Mixing Developers at

-- Ed Buffaloe (, May 06, 2000.

Nobody knows.

-- Erik Ryberg (, May 06, 2000.

It all starts in the center of the sun, where nuclear fusion heats hydrogen to billions of degrees, emitting light into the solar system. From there on, it is magic.

-- Darron Spohn (, May 06, 2000.

Magic My Butt!!!

Wadjaya think all of us in the Brotherhood of Gnomes and Elves Local 602 are gettin' paod for!

Yuz guys have bin givin' dem Brownies in Rochester alla credit fer the las hunnert years! Wuttsa gu gotta do for sum respeck 'roun here?!?!??

-- Grumpy Lil' Elf (, May 06, 2000.

There are some things, my son, which must remain a mystery.

-- Todd Frederick (, May 06, 2000.

It's all simple really. Film is coated with white bacteria. When light hits the bacteria, it gives them a suntan. The amount of suntan is dependant upon the amount of light that hits the bacteria and whether they turn over during the exposure. The developer kills all the bacteria which do not have a suntan. The fixer then absorbs all the dead bacteria and coats the bacteria left with a type of suntan lotion so they do not tan any more. Then the film is washed to remove the fixer and dead bacteria. Photograhic paper works the same. Nothing to it.

-- Doug Paramore (, May 07, 2000.

Take no notice of the above, they're all pulling your leg.

If you look at unexposed film, it's grey in colour. This is because it's coated with a mixture of milllions of black and millions of white tiny little "light-magnets". When the light hits the film all the black light-magnets are attracted into the light and all the white ones are repelled into the shadows; this gives us a black and white negative.

Colour film technology is so complicated that no-one on Earth knows how it really works. It was given to us by aliens, and that's why you have to send colour film off for developing. It's picked up by the aliens and sent to their home planet for processing. That's why so much film gets lost in processing; it has to travel hundreds of light years. Recently the aliens have installed one hour Minilabs that use transporter technology, but they are using our photographs to collect information about us, and will eventually use the Minilabs to send their invasion forces and conquer the Earth.

Don't watch the skies, watch the Minilabs!

-- Pete Andrews (, May 08, 2000.

Thanks for the info on color, Pete. Now I know why my color film sometimes comes back from the mini-lab with strange, undecipherable marks. It's the alien developing codes embedded in the emulsion. That also explains why there are often strange, unrecognizable sounds coming from the mini-lab machines. I must stand by my explanation of B&W film, however. The light magnet theory has been discarded with the advent of newer technology which lets the scientists delve deeper into the process. I suggest you read the scientific paper titled "Bacteria Suntan in the Photographic Process" presented at the Intergalactic Conference on Snapshots in December, 1999. This should help clarify the current situation of B&W processes. You are undoubtedly correct on the color process, however.

-- Doug Paramore (, May 08, 2000.

On a serious note let me recommend to you: The Nature of Photographs by Stephen Shore, )1998, The Johns Hopkins University Press, ISBN 0- 8018-5719-8 (or ISBN 0-8018-5720-1.

-- Ellis Vener (, May 08, 2000.

TMax isn't gray. It's pink. Maybe that's a new technology where they pre-sunburn the bacteria for some reason. Anyone care to speculate?

Did the original poster expect a serious answer?

-- John H. Henderson (, May 09, 2000.

Sorry Doug. I was confusing conventional bacteria film with "instant" magnetically polarised film.

I think Tmax must stand for "Tenderised to the Max" where the bacteria are turned pink by a pre-exposure which makes them more sensitive to sunlight. Or it could be an anti-Hallucination coating which stops the bacteria getting sunstroke and wandering about after they've been exposed.

-- Pete Andrews (, May 09, 2000.


It doesn't. At least, not when you need it to.

-- Douglas Broussard (, May 09, 2000.

Film is because GOD made it that way He said let there be light...there was and that's ahhh that

-- bobby boy (, January 11, 2001.

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