We used foraged green fig as developer!
This developer experimentation is our favourite one yet. Foraging for food/growing your own food is a rebellious act against capitalism and I love that we show that you can do this in photography too. In our garden, outside our garage photolab, we have a big green fig tree that grows inedible fruit. We picked some, blended it, added a bit of water, added some washing soda and some vitamin c and we made our foraged developer. This following recipe is quite diy, see how you go so we will try to explain as best as we can. If you don't have access to figs, maybe try it with another fruit that you may have access to in abundance of!
Roughly 1 kilogram of green figs
Roughly 500ml - 1 litre of water (with the water, we would suggest that when you blend the figs, add enough water so that it results in a slightly chunky smoothie like consistency - go by eye, trust your gut)
40g washing soda
9g vitamin c (from 1000mg chewable tablets)
To get the fig to be a juice, you will need to blend the figs with some water and push the mush through a muslin, into a bowl and use that liquid that has been sifted through as your developer.
To do this, cut the figs into pieces that can be managed by your blender and add water to each part that you blend. Pour this all into a bowl and stir. Then, use the muslin to strain the liquid through (this may take a while) into another bowl. You can dispose of the by product by composting it. Mix the washing soda and vitamin c in the fig juice and you have your developer!
Ilford Paper Prints
Below is a paper negative developed in the fignol. compared to other alternative developers that we have made and used on photo paper, this developer developed the print almost instantly. We would recommend about 1 minute worth of developing time for this developer.
We were expecting an earthy look to the prints or a green hue in negative form and therefore a purple hue in positive. After seeing that this developer has very similar results to a regular developer (beeeeautiful contrast) and only has black and white tones, we think that developers made out of consumables that have more of a tendency to stain your clothes will dye the film i.e. coffee and wine. This will be interesting to take into account for future developers.
We developed Ilford FP4 35mm in the developer at 21 degrees for 15 minutes. We assumed that the developer would be roughly the same timing as the beerol as it developed the paper prints quickly like the beerol did. Unfortunately, our estimate was off and we underdeveloped the film. We suggest increasing the developing time for FP4 to 20 minutes and this should provide accurate development.