Silver Gelatin Prints make lovely gifts

I was thinking today about the satisfaction I’ve had recently in being able to produce silver gelatin prints in the darkroom for gifts.

Whilst I appreciate that it’s a very personal thing to decide what photos you would like on display in your home, I’ve only gifted a couple of photos so far, to people who I know would love them and would definitely have them on display.

The first silver gelatin print I gifted was to my friend Clive, who went away with me last year to Singapore when we watched the Formula 1 Grand Prix there.

It was an amazing trip away and I managed to take a nice photo of Singapore using the zoom lens on my Pentax K1000 camera and Kentmere 100 black and white film.

I really liked the photo when I got it developed and practiced printing it on silver gelatin paper at my second black and white photography course at Varndean college. Here is a scanned copy of the print I did using a 3.5 Contrast Filter:

Clive saw the photo and really liked it. He had recently moved houses and said how lovely that picture would look framed up in his home office.

I therefore mounted it using white card and framed it in a nice black frame and gave it to Clive and he was really happy with it. It also felt like a nice moving in gift to his new home.

The second photo I gifted was to my husband today as it’s his birthday.

He is actually quite a difficult person to buy gifts for since he never really wants anything and if he does, he just buys it himself.

In the past I’ve taken him away on holiday for his birthday but due to current work commitments, he cannot take any time off work in the near future so I knew I wouldn’t be able to do this for him at the moment.

In fact, I think I felt more sad for him than he did at going to work today.

A couple of weeks ago, I had been practicing portrait shots with him using my Hasselblad 500 C/M camera and some Rollei RPX 400 black and white film.

I particularly liked a picture I’d taken of him cuddling our dog so decided yesterday when I was in the darkroom to make an enlargement of it.

Early this morning before he got up for work, I placed the photo on the mantel piece in our living room for him to see.

I’m pleased to say he really loved it and left for work with a big smile on his face. That was a great feeling for me knowing how happy I’d made him and I knew that photo meant more to him than anything material I could have bought.

I attached a copy of the photo in the blog heading but here it is again:

Emulsive Secret Santa 2018

A couple of months ago, I read about a Secret Santa gift exchange run by Emulsive

It’s basically an international Christmas gift exchange for the film photography community.

They ran it last year with great results so decided to do it again.

I immediately signed up and had the option of whether I wanted to have my person I would be matched with for gifting located in the UK or whether I would be happy to have somebody international and pay additional postage costs.

I thought it would be more fun to have someone from overseas so confirmed this would be fine and patiently awaiting a further email from Emulsive to confirm who I would be sending my gift to.

In the meantime, I was also matched to somebody who would be my ‘Secret Santa’.

The aim is to be able to send the gift to the person in time for Christmas and they open the gift on Christmas day. Since I had chosen to post to somebody internationally, Emulsive were good enough to provide me with a match in enough time to enable me to source the gifts and post them to the person in time for Christmas.

In the meantime, we were able to provide a wish list of things we like in film photography so our matches could see what we/they like and hopefully be able to get them gifts that they would be really happy with.

I was very excited when I received my match of whom I’d be posting to and discovered they were in America. I was also able (via the Secret Santa website) to email the person I was gifting (and ask anonymously) their general interest in film photography (i.e. did they have a preference of shooting in colour or b&w, did they have a preferred format of film etc).

After I found out more about the person I was gifting, I was able to buy films to what I thought they would like and some I didn’t think they could easily get hold of in the US. I also included some other things such as a pinhole camera, a camera related notebook and a camera themed pin.

We were also encouraged to send any of our personal photo work so I sent them a card with one of my photos on it.

We had the facility online of being able to confirm when we had received our gifts so our Secret Santa’s knew they had arrived safely.

I was very happy when I knew my match had received their gift from me in time for Christmas day.

My Secret Santa was located in Australia, which I also found exciting as I don’t know much about film photography in Australia or what films are available over there etc.

My Secret Santa was kind enough to email me first to see what my interests in film photography were.

My parcel also arrived in time for Christmas day, all beautifully wrapped. I patiently waited until Christmas day and I was so happy with the thoughtful gifts my Secret Santa had sent me. I felt really spoilt!

The cover photo of this blog is the gift I received from my Secret Santa (minus the Koala Bear Cadburys Chocolates as I promptly ate those before I managed to take this photo!).

I had never heard of several things I had received, such as the Hillvale Holiday film so I’m really looking forward to trying that out.

I’m a huge lover of analogue photography magazines and am always on the hunt for new ones and I had never come across ‘She Shoots Film’ before.

I read this magazine from cover to cover within a day because I found it really interesting so this is definitely a magazine I would buy.

I also love the Cinestill films so was really happy to receive these in my gift as well.

My overall experience of the Emulsive Secret Santa 2018 has been a really positive one, from the fun I had of buying gifts for my match after discovering more about their style of photography etc to what I received.

If Emulsive decide to run this again in 2019, I would highly recommend all film enthusiasts to take part since it is such great fun.