Light Proof Storage Solutions

Anyone using photosensitive materials for either photography, stereography or holography may happen upon the need for light proof storage every now and then. I just wanted to quickly list the two options that I personally use in both my home and studio for light tight storage of photosensitive materials for both small and large applications in my stereography, photography and holography.

One very simple and earth-friendly option is to keep the boxes and light proof inner packaging from sheet film. In my home, we keep all our boxes after the materials are used and I find them quite handy for many purposes.

Sometimes I will extract half used rolls from cameras with battery corrosion, or perhaps encounter a roll of exposed 120 film that had a seal which has come undone and started to unravel.

Boxes like these are perfect for exposed or unwound film and fit easily in your pocket or purse. Simply place them safely inside in a dark room (my bathroom with the door closed at night is a tried and true go-to option for myself, personally) and is then easily transported to a lab where they can be removed in darkroom and processed.

Holographers who coat their own plates might find them suitable for storage of home-made plates. Even holographers that purchase pre-coated plates, like myself have use for them. Sometimes I don’t want to drag around a whole case 30 glass plates from place to place, such as my home to the lab, the darkroom etc. and find that small storage boxes such as these provide adequate protection so long as the inner light proof plastic wrappers are also kept as well. I’ve had holography plates I’ve stored for YEARS in random 4×5 sheet film boxes and they have kept them completely in the dark for the 4 or 5 years I’ve stored them there.

In fact, I have gotten into the habit of keeping most of my holography plates in them, all facing in the same direction, that way I don’t have to think twice and check which side of my plate is emulsified or has a photopolymer adhered to it, which is something I have to do every time I open up the normal case a set of 30 comes packaged in.

Of course, professional paper safes do exist. I had a whole set of vintage “Premier” brand paper safes in 3 different sizes at one point, but divvied them out to my best photographer buddies over the years as they take up a lot of room. I kept the smaller sized one of the three for myself and gave out the others as gifts to my friends who shoot large format or have a lot of material they need to store.

Whichever route you go, having a light proof storage option is a very smart move for anyone using light sensitive film or plates of any kind. I cannot name all the situations that can arise when using light sensitive materials but I’m sure everyone who does utilize them has their own respective reasons for needing a light proof storage device and the stories to go along with it 😉 in any case, these are the two options i currently use. I’m sure there are many more available and obviously your need and budget will guide which one you choose.

Thanks for reading!

-ilicia, aka Mad Shifty 🙂