With so much of todays learning taking place on google and youtube, the idea of mentoring someone or teaching one on one can sometimes seem like a lost art form in and of itself. I think of times past, where the only option you had for learning a skill was in apprenticing under a craftsman.
“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”
― Benjamin Franklin
A couple months back I began bringing emerging film photographers into my home space to teach them the process and art form of home development. I by no means claim to be a master on the subject, however in these “Develop Sessions” I’ve been able to teach from my mistakes. The importance of a pre-wash in order to prevent air bubbles, the nuances of the agitation process, chemical storage and shelf life, etc. I get to explain the countless rolls of destroyed film from failed experiments and faulty technique, and the shortcuts and hacks I add into my workflow.
I realize the irony of this, because I myself initially learned this skill through watching youtube videos and reading through countless forums on the topic. However, I can still remember the incredible amounts of uncertainty that kept me from developing my first rolls, even after studying up on the topic for so long. If I can come along side other artists, and walk them through the process in a way that eliminates the fear and anxiety, I at least owe this analog community that.
Below is a series of images I captured during the Develop Session with Josh Swift, a filmmaker and analog photography enthusiast. Josh & I originally met at a coffee shop here in Grand Rapids, where he noticed my Canon F1n and struck up a conversation that has lead to a great friendship. He is an incredibly fast learner and was eager to dive into the entire process.
One of the things I love most about these sessions, aside from building incredible friendships, is seeing these guys walk away with a intense passion for the art form!
I want to encourage you, that if you have a skill, it is so rewarding to find someone who longs to have the same skill, and partner in teaching it to them. Don’t feel like you need to be an expert on the matter. If you are able to do it at a proficient level now, you are able to teach someone to do the same. Whether it be film or photography related, sports related, business related or anything else you can think of, be someone who still cherishes the act of one on one teaching/mentoring.
“No one learns as much about a subject as one who is forced to teach it.”
― Peter F. Drucker
I will also add that as of late I’ve been looking for individuals that I can sit down with 1on1 and learn from. If Im going to value the act of teaching others, I must also guard the idea that I too have much to learn from those further along in the industry than myself.
If you have any stories about apprenticing under someone else, or mentoring the next generation I would love to hear it in the comments below!
All photos in this article were taken with the Canon F1n, 50mm 1.4 SSC on Kodak Tri-x. Developed in Ilfosol 3 1+9 and scanned using Epson 3170 flatbed scanner.
The T-shirt Josh is wearing in these photos is from my film photography apparel line Two Stops Apparel and can be found at twostopsapparel.com (Use the discount code: NICKEXPOSED to get 10% off your first order)