Tony's tea mug. He loved his green tea and I loved my chats with him as he drank it.


Thanks to Metal ‘New Artist Network’, I’ve been able to develop a BW green tea-based film developer, which I’m naming Pritchettol in memory of Tony Pritchett, a man who liked  green tea and doing experiments with computers and film.

To make one litre of Pritchettol Developer solution.

Start with 600ml of warm water.
It’s important that the following ingredients are added in this order:
Add 54 grams of Soda Crystals slowly – whilst mixing.
When fully dissolved add 16 grams of Vitamin C powder slowly – whilst mixing.
When fully dissolved add 80 grams of Matcha Green Tea powder slowly – whilst mixing.
When fully dissolved, top up with warm water to 1000ml and carry on mixing for about 2 mins.

If possible, strain this solution through a fine sieve – not filter paper, (it isn’t coarse enough).

Developer solution is now ready to use – do not dilute.

Heat up to 25 degrees C.
Dev time is 20′:00″ (continuous agitation)for Kodak Double-X negative film.

I wondered if I used a green tea (like Matcha which was super-charged with polyphenols) instead of coffee I'd get good results. WARNING! This tea is expensive. (I'll use bags next time).

The Making of Pritchettol:

A couple of years ago I was lucky enough to attend a Caffenol processing workshop led by artist Karel Doing. I knew ‘Karel’s Caffenol’ was a great recipe, so I used this as a starting point.

Thanks to the MNAN residency funding, I was able to work with John in his amazing self-made lab, (which looks a bit like a frame of 16mm film).

Photochemical technician/genius John Salim added scientific rigour to my wishful thinking. He mixed up my guesstimated ingredients and gave his expert opinion on the all important temperature and development time.

Measuring 80 grams of tea (my unscientifically guessed amount) on John's scientific scales.
Pritchettol solution.

We were working on one of the hottest days on record. Understandably, John didn’t want to proceed with my crackpot notion in such uncomfortable conditions if the solution wasn’t active.

I needed the film strip that John had dunked in the Pritchettol solution to turn black – showing that a chemical reaction was occurring and therefore it was worth proceeding with the experiment.

Give me a sign! XTol pro dev turned our exposed film black... and then a few secs later so did Pritchettol, (which we were going to call Pritchtol in ref to Xtol)

John was now happy to proceed with processing the footage I’d shot on my DIY microfilm recorder, but he kindly managed my expectations, warning that Pritchettol might just be capable of developing no more than a trace image.

It was such a pleasure to work with someone as meticulous as John. I wish he and Tony had met.

Finally, it was time to open the tank and see what (if any) images we had…

Lo and behold Pritchettol turned out to actually be really pretty good!

Comparing 15 and 20 mins dev time.

Our 20 minute batch was great. We developed one for 15 mins which wasn’t so good.

See the film on screen right – that’s the 20 min one. It’s more contrasty – but sadly the base is a bit fogged. (Nb. The image is the cheesy Kodak LAD girl, pictured further on in this blog).

Southend Library has some great stuff - including microfilm viewers.

And finally, I visited Southend Library to get a scan using their microfilm viewer. (I’d shot the film on my DIY microfilm recorder so this seemed apt.

Tony's tea mug and paper, (he was always keeping up with the latest developments).
Tony and his tea, me and my mic - doing one of my many interviews.
Neg - which was what we were getting out of the tank.
If you fancy this bird you've passed the Kodak LAD test.


John gave Pritchettol a 4 out of 10.

It was marked down for low contrast, grain, slight fogging on the base. He was most critical of the time to dissolve the soda crystals and the cost of the tea. Funnily enough, it was cost and faff that TP lost point on when he was given some funding from The Institute of Computer Science to make The Flexipede.

I’m giving Pritchettol 9 out of 10. I like the contrast, grain and general all round imperfection! My only negative is that it’s way too expensive, but if I used cheaper tea bags (which TP did to be honest) I think it could be a great alternative to more traditional developers.

What an honour and a privilege it was to work with John Salim (LBIPP LRPS).
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