The Dark Room. Thats right, a Proper Noun. Its the place where magic happens. Its also a place where a lot of hard work goes, and where a lot of time seems to disappear into the ether, at an unnatural pace.
I'm a personal fan. Despite the luxury and convenience of digital, quite a fancy one with all the bells and whistles, I still love it. And "lattitude", "kodachrome", and "it slows you down" are not high up on the list. Lets look at some of my reasons and thoughts about and around the dark room.
I like it. I. Just. Plain. Like. It. . . . . . . in my books, thats good enough. But other reasons, include that there's a physical process involved after capturing the images. A lot of people like what I can do with my digital camera. But sometimes I don't really feel like the technology and Photoshop involved.
It starts with unlocking your film out the canister/paper (depending on the format of film). Putting it in a light-sealed chamber to develop it. Wash it. Fix it. Wash it. Dry. BOOM!
Then its time for the light sensitive paper and a film enlarger.......
The way a film enlarger works, is theres a timer on it. It exposes the image onto the light sensitive paper for a set amount of time.
Process for dark room printing.
The print requires the same process as film. This is the exciting part. One needs to use a Grain Enlarger to ensure sharp images are achieved. The image is exposed. Paper goes into the developer. Wash. Fixer. Wash. Dry.
What I love is that in my over-over-simplified version, it takes time. As in about 30-60 minutes for film development. and anywhere from 45 minutes to a few hours for printing.
In this process, its often quiet. Dark. Lots of thought time. Contemplating by yourself, what you experienced, often, socially. But by using science in the true sense. Chemicals. Watching images appear on paper that you CREATED as if from nothing. Twice.
The next step is exhibition. Back to the social aspect of things.
A print from the darkroom. One of my favourite cameras that I use.