Jacques Revon has been a long life photographer. We published his work numerous times, and recently he opened our new chronicle The Silver Eye, presenting his photographs shot with long expired films he received from his father (full disclosure, Jacques is 75 years young). Well, for quite a while now he also turned into an alchemist, processing films with a wide area of very uncommon developers, starting with coffee, then to wine, beer, tea and numerous aromatic herbs. Starting today and for several months, The Silver Eye will showcase the images resulting of his researches, along with the detailed recipes he concocted. If you were dreaming of a dark room cookbook, this is it. Today, you will find in The Silver Eye the first episode of his adventures with caffenol. More to come… Bon appétit!
A magical story, that of an alternative developer
This is just a simple story that came out of my curiosity.
After many weeks of research and personal tests to develop a black and white film in a so-called “alternative” developer, I allow myself today, if this story interests you, to present you with some results.
One day, I learned that the polyphenols components of the developers, are also found in many aromatic herbs whose contents are diﬀerent, I then decide by simple curiosity, to look into the subject.
In the United States in 1995, Williams Scott, Professor of Inorganic Chemistry, working in the research department of the Rochester Institute of Technology, gave highlight with his students, of a silver development with “caﬀenol”, meaning by that with coﬀee…a whole story of chemical reactions started.
Personally, I had never heard of, nor explored, the role of polyphenols in developers, and yet I worked from 1976 to 1981 as a photographer at the ILFORD factory in Saint-Priest in France, which has since disappeared. So imagine, what a come back to forty years later.
This discovery by the team therefore made me want to know a lot more about other ingredients also rich in polyphenols, which could play the role of developers.
After having personally tried and tested that we could also process black and white film in coﬀee, wine, tea, beer,… I decided to focus this time on aromatic plants. also rich in polyphenols, I had before my eyes in our garden, sage, mint, thyme and rosemary, and to think that for years these aromatic herbs had been reaching out to me!
This story of an alternative developer therefore started like this for me.
I would like to sincerely thank Doctor Williams Scott for the contact I was able to establish with him and for his valuable advice. He did me the great honor of taking an interest in my little research and supported me.
Honorary journalist, author, photographer.