This is rather a personal matter: every photographer is entitled to his own ideas, and, generally speaking, it is only after a long experience of trial and error that one learns to tell at a glance when the subject is properly developed for the particular purpose in mind.

It is best to get this rather tedious business over during adolescence if possible, thus leaving the adult years free for selective rather than promiscuous experimental work. Fashion, of course, plays a paramount part, and a careful student of developments cannot fail to observe that every type has its period of popularity. It is customary to unload in the dark-room; and one of the first things to remember is that, however safe the dark-room light appears to be, there is nothing to be gained by premature exposure. It is sound practice to work in the dark as long as possible: always be wary of red lights.

Land Development and Reclamation Scheme.

Here are some fine examples of the good results that cart be obtained by a discreet application of my "Land Development and Reclamation Scheme." There is not the slightest doubt in my mind that proper exposure under sunny conditions can do a great deal to eradicate troubles that are often quite wrongly attributed to faults in development.


The older types of developers such as Indian Clubs, Night Clubs, Dumb-bells and the Sandow Course are gradually being superseded. New problems call for new techniques and I am very pleased to be able to report that several much less strenuous solutions have already been found.

The Solution

It will be better for the beginner to buy his solution ready prepared. There are various safe proprietary brands on the market, and the individual is well advised to find one that suits him and to persevere with it. After mixing the solution according to the directions on the packet the subject should be laid face upwards in the bath and gently rocked backwards and forwards . . . backwards and forwards . . . backwards and forwards.

Fixing And Washing

When removed from the solution, a white or milky appearance will be more or less visible - it is customary to describe this as the unacted-upon part of the silver bromide. Anyway, whatever it is, it is the purpose of the fixing solution to eliminate it. First wash thoroughly in water and then dip in hyposulphate of soda (hypo for short). Up to this stage all the work has been done either in the dark or by the correct yellow or ruby light, but after fixing it is quite in order to pull the blinds up, although washing should continue for quite a long time. Beware of fog . . . too much soda in the bath or over-exposure are common causes.


Very little can be done about really exuberant over-development, although, to some extent, its worst effects can be modified by local reduction. The choice of general reducing agents is varied; Lord Byron (early photographer - Ed.) is said to have favoured saturation with carbonic acid and water, whilst at least one well known proprietary brand would seem primarily to be composed of a discreet mixture of Magnesium and Sodium Sulphate. Constant friction with a rubber roller or squeegee in the region of the affected part or parts has been known to give quite good results and the heat generated is sometimes sufficient to boil a kettle ... if you want to boil a kettle. As a general caution we would advise enthusiasts against using any brand of local reducing agent that is known to encourage worms as a by-product.

Fig. 1.

Over Development UncleAlbertsManualOfPracticalPhotography 45

Fig. 2.

Over Development UncleAlbertsManualOfPracticalPhotography 46

Fig. 3.

Over Development UncleAlbertsManualOfPracticalPhotography 47

Here you see alternative washing devices (1) The Rose Sprinkler, (2) The Washing Trough, (3) The Steps, Pipe and Barrel method. Of the three we definitely prefer the latter, since the same apparatus, can, in lieu of the Indian Rope Trick, be used to get the subject into the appropriate condition (position? - Ed.) for Megascopic exposures (see illustration and details on page 61).