As a creator I’ve always cherished autonomy. When I had a design studio we didn’t just do the illustration photography and graphic portions of a program… We did the backend code, database creation and management, front end code, UI/UX… We did it all. I wanted to keep as much autonomy on every project and frankly as much revenue as I possibly could. I can name a lot of ways that has worked against me in my life but I can also name just as many ways it has been a benefit.

Getting away from having to rely on third parties to process your negatives is an absolute joy. Icon labs in Los Angeles is solid but they’ve actually lost negatives of mine in the past. They shrug their shoulders and say some dip shit nonsense like “oops don’t know how that happened…“ And still don’t comp me the price of processing some thing I never got back. What do you want? It’s a Bunch of lame kids that think they’re artist. It’s almost like going to Starbucks to hear someone tell you about the movie script they’re working on …while they make your latte. I know. We all gotta start somewhere, but that somewhere isn’t gonna be on my shit. So… to the chemistry I go.

Once you get beyond the basics of learning how to develop film in a tank situation, it’s time to experiment. Use expired films, change chemical temperatures, play with push/pull latitudes and even dev times. This can bring a sense of improvisation to an otherwise static process. The results can be fascinating, especially with color reversal film. More importantly are the nearly impossible to duplicate results, helping to create a sense of artistry and singularity, in otherwise very technical process.

Don’t make it just about what you’re framing, or the film you’re using or the lights or your subject. Own the entire creative process from beginning to end. Autonomy is a great thing.