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Back in the day (the good ‘ole 1990’s), things used to be so simple. When you wanted to develop your Western blot you would soak it in some chemiluminescent substrate then head to the dark room for some quality time by yourself with your Western blot film. What could be better? The dark room was great.

I fondly remember:

  1. Sniffing in the toxic chemical fumes
  2. Desperately trying to get the right exposure using sheet after sheet of film
  3. Running in and out of the room to either catch the film that came out the other side or to hold the film up to the light while squinting to make out bands
  4. The awkward silence when you had to share the dark room with someone, or >gulp< bumped into someone in the dark
  5. Fumbling in the dark for timers, cassettes, film and the developer itself
  6. Frantically trying to put the cover back on the box of film when you realize you didn’t close it before you turned the light on
  7. Cutting up film to save money knowing that you might be risking the film never coming out of the developer
  8. The anguish when you go to expose your blot and realize the developer is broken
  9. Saying “beam me up, Scotty” every time you went into the dark room that had the nifty revolving door
  10. A one minute exposure being the longest minute of my life
  11. Fist-fights between the person that signed up for the developer and the one that just “popped in” (didn’t actually happen to me)
  12. Red light
  13. Film with pre-exposed edges (see #6)
  14. Trying to figure out the difference between blue film and gray film – can you use both sides?

It’s a shame that digital imaging might take all of this away. Don’t you agree?


Photo courtesy of Stephen Cummings.

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