After considerable soul searching I’ve finally and irrevocably transitioned from the world of film to the relative ease of digital photography.
No more being tucked away for hours on end in my darkroom inhaling noxious gases from developer, fixer and the rest. Followed then by crouching over the light table to select the best negatives to print. Of course this usually resulted in only one or two from a complete negative roll being up to the standard I required for printing.
The part of working with film I enjoyed most was using my enlargers and various paper types to produce monochrome images for camera club competitions, exhibitions and just pure personal satisfaction.
I am fortunate that, separate from our house is my studio in its own little building. The studio contained my darkroom.
For well over a decade my darkroom had been my ‘Man Cave’.
The ‘Do Not Enter When Red Light is On’ sign on the darkroom door provided a realm of privacy and solitude not even possible in the bathroom.
However, the digital age caught up with me when I bought a little Canon point and shoot digital camera. Shortly thereafter, Nikon, my film camera off choice, released their first digital SLR camera range.
I purchased a Nikon D100 and I was hooked.
At that time I was still a photography student at my local TAFE ( Technical and Further Education) College and there too, the transition to digital photography was gradually taking place.
When I left TAFE after nine years studying photography, their darkrooms had been closed and all photography courses were digitally based.
Fast forward to 2016.
My wet darkroom had long been replaced by my digital darkroom located in my home office.
My wet darkroom had simply become a repository for motorbike spares, Landrover parts, a ride on mower and its trailer, an old electric arc welder and other important bits and pieces that a bloke acquires over time.
Regrettably, I took the decision to close the darkroom and dispose of its total photographic contents.
I looked on Ebay and other internet sales venues and to my disappointment learned that sales of darkroom equipment had fallen into the doldrums. What now?
Through my contacts in the camera club movement I rapidly learned that there were many photographers like me trying to dispose of unwanted dark room gear and I concluded that I was destined to possess it all forever.
Over time I packed the contents in another part of my studio. Seven professional enlargers , chemistry, an electric heated print drying machine, a copy stand, easels, lenses, electronic timers, bulk film, bulk film loaders, film canisters, dark bags, various sized developing trays , print and negative washing equipment, tongs, measurers, digital timers, a full size electric negative drying cabinet, safety lighting kits, spare red glass, and other bits and pieces were moved.
The following two images of some of the equipment will give you a general idea of my disposal dilemma.
I thought I’d investigated all opportunities until a chance conversation with a fellow photographer saved the day. He was involved in the arty world of one of the larger local high schools.
Their darkroom and its equipment had fallen victim to bureaucratic wisdom .
In the ensuing conversation I offered to donate all of my darkroom gear to the school and my offer was accepted on the spot. Not long afterwards and four car loads later, all of the goodies had found their new home.
Now, my ‘Man Cave’ contains part of my library, some easy chairs, gas heating, great lighting and carpeting. A fine outcome all round.
So , hoo roo for now.
7 thoughts on “SAYING GOODBYE TO MY WET PHOTOGRAPHIC DARKROOM”
I love a happy ending.
Me too. It’s as if I still have a hand in its use.
Fantastic that all the equipment has gone to a good home – I bet you feel really great about that! 🙂
Thanks Lucy. The students will have fun and learn heaps about real Photogrsphy.
Pitty I can’t spell photography.
Great article. Yes, it would have been sad to see it go. I stopped Darkroom printing a few years ago now but only sold my equipment in our last move (Nov. last year). Strangely, though, I have kept my Yashica 635 & a Sekonic Light Meter as there is a little light inside that says ‘one day you might use them again…’. Even if I don’t, I think I’ll keep it as a memento…
Thanks David. Like you I’ve hung onto my medium format cameras and lenses ‘just in case’.
I acquired an adapter from the States that enables me to use my Blad lenses on my Nikons. Its great because it means I’m committed to full manual and therefore my Sekonic light meter is still getting a work out. Good for the brain box too.
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