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10 January 2008 @ 01:15 pm
Something Unconventional (Spring Semester) Ch. 6  
Title: Something Unconventional (Spring Semester)
Author: kaiteexchaos
Rating: NC-17
Disclaimer: Don’t own, don’t know, never happened.
Summary: Frank is a nihilistic seventeen-year-old punk who’s about ready to give up on life. Gerard is the introverted, off-center English teacher who reminds Frank how beautiful life can be.

Previous Chapters

A/N: This damn story kept me up all night. D:
I wish I could say I was kidding; I’ve been drinking coffee all day, so that I could type and post what I managed to get written.
I’d also like to apologize in advance for my overly long descriptions of photography in this and the next few chapters. But not really, cause I like them. =P
Okay, and one more thing: anyone who’s interested in reading or writing femmeslash, check out the comm. my friend made: musicfem. We need more members! If nothing else, join so you can read the Girl!Gee/Lyn-Z fic I’ll eventually post on there. Alright, I think that’s all I need to say for now. Thanks for reading and enjoy the update!

Chapter 6: Developer

On Monday, we received our first real assignment for Photography. We were to take portraits of people we knew. Only three of these pictures would be used in the final project, but we still needed to use the whole roll of twenty-four pictures.

I invited Phoenix, Edie, Melissa, and Sam over after school. This was perfect. I would take pictures off them for my first Photography assignment, and Phoenix could take pictures of us for his Advanced Placement Photography assignment.

“One of the things I love about AP Photo,” Phoenix said, “Is that you get to choose your own assignments. You’re just given a due date, and of course you have to get your ideas approved by the teacher, but apart from that, you’re on your own unless you need help.”
“And what’s the subject of your current project?” I asked him.
He snapped his camera shut. “Redefining beauty. I really dislike the current definition of beauty. I mean, women are expected to be twigs and put a ton of effort into their appearances. And Photoshop isn’t helping this any. It pisses me off to no end. So I’m taking pictures of real people who I find beautiful. People who don’t necessarily fit into that modern definition of ‘beauty,’ but that’s what makes them so special. All of you, for instance.” He scoffed a bit. “And guys aren’t even allowed to be beautiful; we have to be handsome. Well, fuck that! Guys can be beautiful, too.” He gestured to Sam. “I mean, just look at Sam. He’s gorgeous!” He turned to look at me. “And you, Frank…” The corners of his lips turned up a little, but he didn’t quite smile, nor did he finish his sentence.

We all agreed I could take my pictures first.

Photography was a lot more complicated than I thought it would be. I was used to pointing and clicking. But with this, there were so many terms to remember, so many things to take into account when taking a picture. I had to worry about shutter speed, and aperture. And then there was the developing process—which actually consisted of three multi-step steps. Well, four steps, if you include prepping the film for development.

The first step in darkroom photography is getting the film into the tank. First, you need to rewind your film, then take it out of your camera and stick it into a changing bag, along with a reel, can opener, pair of scissors, a developing tank, and a lid and rod for the tank. Once you’ve done all this, you zip up the bag and stick your hands in through holes in the bag—holes with elastic, so they’ll tighten around your arms. Next, you find the film and can opener, and you take off a little metal ring at the bottom of the canister using the can opener. This can be rather frustrating, seeing how the bag makes your hands sweat. Not to mention you can’t see what you’re doing. At any rate, once you’ve got the film out, you roll it up onto a reel and stick it into the tank. You stick the rod in the middle, then screw on the lid. All this has to be done in the changing bag, because if the film is exposed to light before it’s developed, it could ruin an entire roll of film, and there go twenty-four pictures and another five dollars for film.

I wondered how Phoenix would look in black and white as I took pictures of him. He had been progressively moving to a more polished look, which, in all honesty, suited him far better than that punk look he’d taken on for so many years. His studded jean vest had been replaced by a tight, black corduroy jacket that buttoned down the front. Sometimes, he wore it over his black System of a Down hoodie; sometimes he wore it alone. Other times, he wore a warm knit sweater under it. No matter how he wore it, though, this jacket highlighted his broad shoulders and muscular arms like no other jacket or shirt he owned.
He’d traded in his guitar-pick necklace for a variety of scarves, and his worn out old band shirts for long-sleeved button-down shirts. Sometimes, he’d still wear his band shirts underneath, but for the most part, he wore his button-down shirts with a plain t-shirt underneath—or nothing. Hell, he’d even asked Sam to dye his hair back to its natural dark brown, which it hadn’t been in a long time. This looked a lot better than the red.
He still wore his tight black jeans and Dickies, and his Converse, but they added a necessary edge to his look. Overall, he looked classier and more mature, but still artsy, and still unabashedly “Phoenix.”

After I finished taking my pictures, Phoenix said that he wanted to go to the park to take his pictures. Some pictures he took of us on the playground equipment; some he took of us looking out across the lake.
“Alright, that should do for now,” he said, checking how many pictures he’d taken. “Thanks, guys. Now, why don’t we walk over to that nearby café and get some coffee and a bite to eat?”
“Okay,” we agreed.
As we started walking, I heard a click to my left and turned to see Phoenix with his camera aimed at me. “Don’t, dude,” I said, and turned to keep walking.
“Wait! Frank, hold still!” Phoenix called. I turned back to face him and he took another picture of me.
“I thought you were done for today,” I commented.
“No, no, dude. Just act natural.”
“How can I act natural when you’re chasing me around with that camera?”
He repressed a grin and lowered his camera, advancing the film. “You’re right. I’m sorry.”
As I started turning around again, I heard another click.
“Alright, that’s it, you asshole!” I exclaimed, but I wore a smile. Phoenix laughed and advanced his film again. I laughed, too, now, reaching forward to smack him. Another click.
“I mean it!” I yelled, grabbing the camera and taking it.
“Shit, be careful with that!” he exclaimed, at once becoming serious. “It cost a lot of money!”
“Don’t worry; I will be.”
I advanced the film and didn’t even bother checking the light meter or adjusting aperture before taking a shot of him.
“Hey, stop that!” he laughed. “You’re wasting my film!”
“Well, you should’ve thought of that before wasting your film on me!”
I managed to take one more picture of him before he wrenched the camera out of my hands.


The second step of darkroom photography is development. Once the film is prepped and ready, you can start developing it. There are five chemicals you need to process film: developer, stop, fixer, hypoclear, and photoflo. Film contains silver bromide particles. When these particles decompose, they turn into pure silver and the image surfaces. That’s the purpose of developer—to bring out the image. The purpose of the stop bath is, as the name suggests, to stop the developing process. This is important. Images don’t show up on overdeveloped film, and the roll comes out clear. The fixer removes any silver bromide crystals that were not sensitized and fixes the image on the film. Hypoclear helps wash the chemicals off the film, and photoflo keeps the film from streaking.

The whole process takes about an hour and a half.

What you do is you pre-wash the film for a minute to adjust the film to the temperature of the chemicals, then you fill your developing tank with developer through a small hole in the top. You then insert a stirring rod and agitate the chemical for thirty seconds straight, followed by eight and a half minutes during which you agitate for five of every thirty seconds, tapping the bottom of the tank a little after each agitation.

“No, no, no,” Phoenix said. “You’re doing it wrong. Here. Give me that.”
I held out my developing tank to him, confused as to how it was possible for me to do something as simple as stirring and gently tapping the bottom of the tank wrong. But since he was the teacher’s aide, I trusted his judgment.

Phoenix took the tank, his fingers brushing over mind in the process. He set the tank down on the counter and looked at the clock, then waited thirty seconds before he started stirring.
“You know,” he said while he stirred. “We didn’t always have these stupid stirrer things.”
“You didn’t?”
Phoenix shook his head. “Nope. Not till this year. You see, what we used to do,” he said, checking the clock again and removing the stirring rod, “was we’d put on the lid tight, and shake it.” He slammed the tank down on the counter three times. “Now, that’s how it’s done,” he said.
“No problem.” He rested his hand on my upper back for a second before running off to help someone else.
x_mychem_rock_xx_mychem_rock_x on January 10th, 2008 08:46 pm (UTC)
As always, an awesome Chapter.

I loved the part where they were taking photos.

I'm getting worried about the whole Phoenix thing though.

Also, are you trying to drive me crazy?! You left out what happened with Gerard! Now I'm gonna be all insane, wondering what happened!

I did love this though.

Cheyenne1bullet on January 10th, 2008 09:03 pm (UTC)
ooh, yess!!
Cheyenne1bullet on January 10th, 2008 09:12 pm (UTC)
Phoenix is making me suspicious... hmm. oh well, this one was awesome, with all the photography!
tunny_13tunny_13 on January 10th, 2008 09:04 pm (UTC)

I love this
more than ever.(:
Jimmy: pic#70209834i_am_tre on January 10th, 2008 09:26 pm (UTC)
Im happy you updated... I sorta like the Phoenix/Frank sorta thing thats going on. Though I am missing Gee.

More soon?

psychotic555 on January 10th, 2008 09:43 pm (UTC)
System of a Down....? im beginning to quite like this Pheonix person....XDDD

i love this story. its absolutely amazing and i ENVY your abilities as a writer. this definately brightens up my day. :]]
the smiles beneath my bonesimconfusedotcom on January 10th, 2008 10:42 pm (UTC)

No Gee?

Oh well. Still loved this chapter.
And phoenix loves frankie so baaaad 8D

hellsmyhomehellsmyhome on January 10th, 2008 10:47 pm (UTC)
where is my tubby friend? great update, but we need Gee xxxx
Viva Hatemandlebars on January 10th, 2008 11:47 pm (UTC)
I'm seeing the development process as a metaphor for frank and phoenix' relationship.
Saint No-Namekaiteexchaos on January 10th, 2008 11:51 pm (UTC)
Yeah? Over the next few chapters, I'll be going over the other steps of development (stop, fixer, hypoclear, photoflo), and each step will be sort of symbollic of what's going on in the chapter.
xsilent_chaosx on January 11th, 2008 02:28 pm (UTC)
Another great chapter. Phoenix is making me nervous.. sure, he's a nice guy, but we all know who Frank is really meant for...
Getting back to Gee and Frank's relationship, I'm just surprised nobody has found out so far. They're very good at keeping it a secret! :)
More soon?
Cassidycass_a_daay on January 11th, 2008 10:23 pm (UTC)
wow I was way behind, lol.
still love this story
Phoenix and Frank still have feelings for each other? uh oh
baysholdren on May 3rd, 2011 03:47 am (UTC)
Whatever happened to this story? Chapter 7 won't open and I it is killing me not to able to finish reading this. Any answers?????
awesomefreako_o on January 10th, 2012 05:58 pm (UTC)
I've just finished reading this from Fall Semester to this chapter...
It's really awesome, you're an amazing writer.
Are you ever gonna continue posting this story? I'd really like to read the rest.