This download needs time transportation backwards through 40 years to appreciate, as it’s genesis was in a different period altogether.
In 1977 there was a state of great impoverishment in UK photo materials. Agfa arguably made the best black & white materials in the world, but had something of a garrison outpost in their UK distributors, who had decided to simply stop B&W imports. As Agfa UK in Brentford saw it, the road ahead lay with colour.
The Goldfinger crew, (the Brovira Boys of Muswell Hill**, as one advert portrayed them) came to the rescue. Billeted in their HQ above a chemists shop in Muswell Hill, they brought in a steady flow of the Agfa essentials, which included the legendary *Record Rapid paper. The ethos was to save the essentials and build on them, and curiously that constant fight has never really gone away – although most of the manufacturing has.
To help this promotionally, what started up as a series of notes culled from Agfa’s technical pamphlets became a tour-de-force urging on the photographic quest from conception to fulfilment, encapsulated in a 100 page ink-duplicated publication pasted up, printed & bound in-house.
It was quite famous for a few years, and was even taken on someone’s Desert Island Disc’s book selection.
* A reason why darkroom printing became unsatisfying to many was the watering down & eventual demise of Record Rapid paper in the 1990’s. A particularly luscious chloro-bromide paper with a delicate off-gloss finish, and amazing tonal capabilities.
Unfortunately the high quality was the result of having been compounded using cadmium salts in the emulsion. Cadmium was always used extensively in graphic arts emulsion chemistry, as it promotes separation at the toe of the characteristic curve. When applied to photo paper it also gives phenomenal shadow separation. But Brussels kept chipping away at Agfa to clean their products up, as indeed they did to all the manufacturers, Ilford also had to do their share of reformulation. But after 2 stages of re-engineering to remove ***cadmium, what was left of Record Rapid wasn’t fit for photograms.
**The Brovira Boys in action in 1979;
Note the Commodore PET’s, this was an operation on the cutting edge of technology.
*** Maybe someone who’s up on this particular chemistry could explain a toxicity curiosity. Although cadmium is apparently too toxic for trace amounts to be released in photo emulsions, half the world’s production of cadmium, (2000 tons annually) goes into pigments, & a lot of that into artists paints. But somehow that is alright?