Analogue Lovers, Rejoice! The Comeback of Direct Positive Paper and Monobath Developer [Tech Tuesday]

June 9, 2015

By RF Staff

Analogue photography is alive and well; some processes and products may disappear (and re-appear, if we're lucky) but one thing is constant: analogue is cool. Film is cool. And for photographers who have only known digital in their careers, film and alternative processes can—and do—spark some new creative juices. There are even special holidays and competitions that revolve around one analogue process or another including Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day (the next one is April 24, 2016) and the Krappy Kamera (film) Competition, among others, that help keep non-digital photography alive.


Feeding into the creative analogue genre is Ilford Photo. Pinhole photographers will be especially happy that, after more than a year's absence, Harman Direct Positive FB paper is back in full production. It's perfect for pinhole photography as well as other cameras (such as large format, LOMO, etc.) and other processes like photograms. And that's the beauty of it—you can create a positive print (as its name implies) without using a negative or an inter-negative. Of course, you can also use it as traditional paper and expose it via negatives.

This silver-gelatin, black-and-white, high-contrast paper features a glossy surface over a 255gsm fiber base and can be processed in traditional black-and-white photo chemistry. It won't be available in North America until mid-to-late August but will be offered in a wide range of cut sheet sizes as well as rolls, with prices for a box of 25, 4 x 5-inch cut sheets starting at around $17—a small price to pay for some photographic experimentation.


Thanks to Kickstarter, some of the most innovative new products are emanating from photographers and entrepreneurs rather than mainstream companies. New55 is one of those innovators, with a few new products including R3 Monobath Developer, an all-in-one chemistry for processing black-and-white film. This universal developer also stops and fixes, sort of like the KISS principle.

New55 has tested the Monobath Developer with a number of different film types with good results: New55 Atomic-X, Ilford Pan F, HP5 Plus, Kodak TMax, Tri-X, Efke 25 and Shanghai 100. And, according to New55, it should work with any black-and-white film (take a look at the company's sample images here). It's $20 for 32 ounces and they ship worldwide for those of you who want to test it out themselves.