The Coffee, Beer and Organic Fruit Juice Revolution!

I have been experimenting with alternatives to traditional environmentally hazardous means of developing film. This is when I accidentally discovered Caffenol, a monochrome negative developer which many photographers had experimented with in the past. Caffenol consists of instant coffee, vitamin C powder and washing soda. You can cheaply get all three ingredients at Aldi, Lidl or similar discount stores. It is recommended to buy the cheapest kind of coffee available, since it usually contains the highest amount of coffee acid: While it is bad for the stomach, it is essential for developing! After having used the soup once, you can simply dispose of it by pouring it into the toilet.

Now, how does this work? Coffee contains phenols, which are the little sisters of hydroquinone, which in turn is the major component of many monochrome developers. Phenols are present in many different kinds of plants and foods: Coffee, tea, red wine, potatoes, ferns, black currants, mushrooms, vanilla, whiskey, tree bark, several types of flowers and many more.

Now I mix the above-noted plants, foods and semi-luxuries (I juice raw potatoes, brew blossoms, chop and boil greeneries to a pulp). I add a blend of (this is important!) vitamin C powder (contrast enhancer, grain cleaner, light clearer) and washing soda (alkali = accelerator, deacidifies the pH-value). The results don’t have to hide behind conventional developers at all: Nothing gets grimy, sloppy or brown. In fact, the opposite is the case! I never cease to be amazed at how fine, full of grey nuances, well contrasted and sensitive the results turn out to be. And the soup even smells rather interestingly, as well! You’ll feel like you’re in the lab of an alchemist: stirring, sniffing and murmuring magical formulas.

Dagie Brundert lives in Berlin. She is an artist and a passionate Super-8 film maker.
Maximum number of participants: 8. The event will be held in German, though it can be held in English on demand. Registration required.

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