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Thread: Never been in a darkroom

  1. #1

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    Never been in a darkroom

    Am I the only LF photographer that has never been in a darkroom? I am relatively new to photography and I scan all ny negs/transparencies and print with inkjet printers. I am always reading about the interesting things people do (processing/printing) in darkrooms and a little bit of me feels like I am missing out on something. Just curious...

    Norm

  2. #2
    Donald Qualls's Avatar
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    Re: Never been in a darkroom

    Quote Originally Posted by normb
    Am I the only LF photographer that has never been in a darkroom?
    Yep. You must have missed the orientation.

    I'd rather spend time in the darkroom than in front of my computer any day. Sadly, my darkroom is also the master bathroom in the house, and my wife keeps wanting to use it for its original function (she says the small one is hard to get up from; maybe I need to install a grab bar for her).
    If a contact print at arm's length is too small to see, you need a bigger camera. :D

  3. #3
    Abuser of God's Sunlight
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    Re: Never been in a darkroom

    years ago darkroom processes were the only choices. today they exist side by side with a lot of others. it's really up to you if you want to learn to make traditional prints.

    while it's easy to say you're "missing out on something" by not doing it, the truth is we're always missing out on most things. i made a lot of silver prints in the darkroom over the years, but technially i was missing out on the joys of making daguerrotypes and salt prints and carbon prints ... and paintings and scuptures and lithographs and suspension bridges ....

    you choose your tools and processes from among many. in doing so you decide what it's ok to miss out on. the important thing is to try to make a good choice. if you're not sure if you'd like darkroom work, maybe you have a friend who does it ... you could hang out in the dark and help out and see if you like it.

  4. #4
    Old School Wayne
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    Re: Never been in a darkroom

    Yes, you are the only one and yes, you are missing out on a lot. About 170 years worth. Try it and see for yourself.


    Wayne

  5. #5
    grumpy & miserable Joseph O'Neil's Avatar
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    Re: Never been in a darkroom

    I think it boils down to colour VS black and white. If you are doing colour, with good colour chemistry harder and harder to find (Cibachrome, dye transfer - what else I am missing), probally computer is the way to go.

    But with Black & White, so are so many variables, so many parametsd, so many chances to see things differently, I think the "wet" darkroom offers plenty of choices.

    While I have seen some amazing B&W work digita, I l think there are prints you can make in the "traditonal" (or alternative processes) that cannot compete with digital. Like trying to reproduce an oil painting digitally - you are missing the point.

    As for computers themselves - too noisy for me to relax. For me computers are for work, not creativity. Your milage may and will vary. My darkroom, small as it is , is a sanctuary away from the world, quiet, dark, peaceful. I don't feel creative in front of a computer.

    bottom line - working in the darkroom is like - well what Louis Armstrong said about Jazz - “If you have to ask what jazz is, you'll never know.” I listen to Jazz while printing.

    joe
    Last edited by Joseph O'Neil; 29-May-2006 at 14:16.
    eta gosha maaba, aaniish gaa zhiwebiziyin ?

  6. #6
    reellis67's Avatar
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    Re: Never been in a darkroom

    I have to say that I higly recommend visiting a darkroom at least once, just to get the feel for the process. For me, there is really nothing like working in the darkroom. The ability to work the entire process with my hands means everything to me. Call me a luddite if you wish, but there is nothing more rewarding to me than creating things by hand, be it in the woodshop or the darkroom.

    - Randy

  7. #7
    Old School Wayne
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    Re: Never been in a darkroom

    Quote Originally Posted by reellis67
    Call me a luddite if you wish,
    - Randy
    Luddite.



    Wayne

  8. #8
    4x5 - no beard Patrik Roseen's Avatar
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    Re: Never been in a darkroom

    Hi Norm, I guess you are not alone in not having been in a darkroom, but just like Donald Qualls was saying I use my bathroom for enlarging black&White prints. I have only been doing this for a few months now and it feels like magic every time the paper is developed and the print appears...and when I do dodge and burn with my bare hands sweeping through the light rays from the enlarger...oh, I have fallen in love with it. You really have to try it. I started from scratch without any assistance from anyone doing contact prints. I was fortunate to use a very good multigrade paper (Fotokemika Fineprint) so the first prints encouraged me to continue. But I too would recommend you join someone in a darkroom to get a feel for it. It truly is magical. Kind regards, Patrik

  9. #9
    reellis67's Avatar
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    Re: Never been in a darkroom

    Doh!

  10. #10
    reellis67's Avatar
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    Re: Never been in a darkroom

    I'll jump again here just to say that I too use my master bath as a darkroom. It does take a little time to set up and take down, but not much more than 10-15 minutes for each.

    - Randy

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