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#SavingFilm: Alternative developers

Updated: Dec 16, 2021

This month on #SavingFilm we introduce a sub-series dedicated to innovators, advocates, organizations, and companies who in unison, spawn The Vanguards of Film.

Re-introduction to analog varies on which part of the planet you are in. It depends on the culture, the availability of analog materials and their components.

This week, we dive deeper into the world of people leading the advocacy of reviving film photography. On this episode, the spotlight hits our friend from Ukraine and how he managed to pull-off a developing concoction using wine.

We talked to Dima Gerarimov —an enthusiast from Ukraine who experiments on different chemical alternatives to film developing.

He started shooting film as a kid and even developed them on his own since. He leads in teaching photography to students in Ukraine.

“The most satisfying thing [about teaching] was to see their faces after they developed film. I felt happy to see that I helped them understand that film is not forbidden magic for chosen ones.”

He says film is here to stay and with people like him who experiment, film photography has a promising future ahead.

“I do not think that film is dying. Kodak made a comeback with color positive film, Fuji decided to restart Acros. For developing b&w film you don't need rare or expensive chemicals. You can even do it with beer or wine.“

Dima experiments with different kinds of developing chemicals found at home.

He finds it cheaper since manufactured ones are expensive and hard to come by.


He shares with us his recipe for a wine developer below:


500 ml of red wine (you can buy the cheapest one)

50 grams of soda ash or Bicarbonate Soda Na2CO3

2 grams of ascorbic acid


Sodium Thiosulfate (you can get it in a drugstore)

For 1 liter of water, you need 250 grams

Temperature: 20-22c

Stop bath:

Since the developer is acidic, you don’t need it

Follow these easy steps:

1. Mix it, temperature should be 20-22c then fill the [developing] tank

2. Develop for 45 minutes

3. Drain developer, fill tank with water for 5 minutes

4. Drain [again] and add fixer

But be warned. Developing with alternatives may yield some unexpected results.


On the impact of internet’s well-connected world, Dima explains that this gives us the best opportunity to learn and urges us to take advantage of it.

“In my childhood to gain information, you had to go to the library and hope that book you need is there. Now, it’s easy —just go to Youtube. If needed, press stop, and repeat as many times. You can converse with professionals on Facebook to get answers. It is wonderful time for film.”

Below are some of Dima's works

Dima sees a bright future for film photography with new camera inventions amplified through fundraising platforms like Kickstarter.

“I think in 10 years, new manufacturers of cameras [like] point-and-shoot, and range finders will appear. Cause [when you hold a photograph] the emotion [you feel] will never be replaced by Instagram or something digital. Digital will always be a simulation.”

With the internet, many things are possible. Even voices like Dima’s (through blogs like this) is amplified. Access to information is now easier, faster and more accurate.

The Interest in analog film photography may have decreased in the past years but today, with modern technology, it is reborn.

To see more of Dima's work, you may visit his instagram feed below.

Follow him on his handle @ditwins.

Stay tuned for our story next week!

#SavingFilm is an ongoing blog series by Born in Film.

Tune in to for future stories

Born in Film is a non-profit group run by passion-driven individuals. 

Creating advocacy-related events requires monetary support.

Help us #Savefilm by purchasing our limited edition merchandise or by participating with our scheduled huddles. You can also send your donations via this link.

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