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Thread: Darkroom Co-ops start up

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Sep 1998
    Austin, TX

    Darkroom Co-ops start up

    I'm getting back into LF again after leaving it 10 years ago. I'm needing a darkroom but finding it difficult to find darkroom rentals. I'm thinking there are more people out there like me who either are coming back to film or are interested in starting into it but there is no darkroom rentals. I'm thinking about starting up a darkroom co-op but have no idea how to do that. Does anyone here have any experience/recommendations on how to do this? thanks

  2. #2

    Join Date
    May 2007
    Greenwood Lake NY USA

    Re: Darkroom Co-ops start up

    Where are you?

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Santa Barbara

    Re: Darkroom Co-ops start up

    go to any camera store that might be left in your area and see if anyone is asking about rental darkrooms - give them your card/flyer

    go to local facebook photography groups and ask there if anyone would be interested - take names/emails of anyone who replies

    if there a college nearby that still teaches film photography?

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Feb 2010

    Re: Darkroom Co-ops start up

    Looks like he is in TX

  5. #5
    Randy Moe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011

    Re: Darkroom Co-ops start up

    I was on there 3 years. Nobody ever contacted me to use my free large Darkroom.

    Lot's of low spark wannabees.

    That's not a comment about the OP.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Brainerd, MN, USA

    Re: Darkroom Co-ops start up

    What's your desired business model? For example, are you going to limit users to a few serious photographers or make it available to anyone? Pay by the hour/use or subscription based? In your home or a commercial space?

    I know one serious (professional) local photographer with an excellent darkroom in leased space that has 10 additional users paying $120 month (includes a shooting bay and production space). His equipment is "professional grade", up to 8x10, and well maintained. I don't think his intent is to make a profit; rather to recover some of his costs or just support the photo community. His membership is small but stable. My guess is that his membership revenue covers rent plus utilities - maybe. I don't know - but it's my guess - that he started with his own studio then slowly worked up to 10 additional members.

    A local community photo center with darkroom, charging $35 per month for membership, is not "overwhelmed" with darkroom users. The darkroom is essentially a loss leader. It's a serviceable facility, but no where near the equal of the one I described above. There are other factors at play that might be depressing membership, but not a material impact on darkroom usage.

    Both of these are in a fairly large metropolitan area with a reasonably vibrant arts community.

    I think a successful darkroom coop requires either a small but dedicated core of users or the umbrella of an arts organization willing to provide space and overhead services (like insurance).

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Apr 2012

    Re: Darkroom Co-ops start up

    I have seen a few of the operations go and come, one in Bellingham, Washington made it for 2 years he also had a gallery attached with a good variety of shows. Don't know of many at this time.

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