Just this past week I had the last class of my eight week darkroom photography class. It was such a great experience to take my photos all the way through from start to finish. The process and products are equally satisfying. To be able to shoot a roll of film, then get it on the reels in pitch black, and through the developing process, holding your breath until you see the negatives and know you didn’t screw it up…such excitement.
The challenge of it all made for such a great reward when it all worked out in the end. Once you’ve got the negatives, you’ve got to dry, clean, and cut them, maybe make a contact sheet, and then you can choose from which you’d like to print photographs.
I developed three rolls across the eight weeks, and printed numerous prints. The time spent in the dark, quiet darkroom was so peaceful and almost meditative, as was the processing itself. The calming reassurance in the repetition of each step, the patience required, time in which you stand and ponder excitedly what you’ll print next. And it is such motivation to get out there and shoot. Half the time I spent in the darkroom, I was wishing I was out shooting another roll to develop! One day, I went out with Leilani and, planning just to print that day, I ended up shooting an entire 120 roll and developing it that same day with great success!
Overwhelmingly a rewarding experience, I’d recommend it to anyone who gets the opportunity. It is so helpful to understand the entire process, and what better way than to learn to do it yourself? Additionally, it gives you another level of appreciation for good photography, as well as an extra dose of patience, something all photographers could use. I think it can make you a more well rounded photographer, who really knows what they are talking about more than the average photog.
Above and below, you can see some of the prints I scanned, though most are scans of the negatives I developed, as well as shots of the process and its accouterments.