There’s no getting around it; we live in a visual age. Instagram and Pinterest have given every one of us an appreciation for the beauty a lens can capture. And, the majority of us have the benefit of top quality phone cameras in our pockets.
But photography in the modern age isn’t all about fast gratification and Instafilters. There are still those of us who want the slow and complete process of developing by hand. Nothing quite beats the feeling of watching your pictures appear as if by magic. The only problem is, film cameras are fast going out of fashion, and dark rooms are hard to come by.
But, if you’re determined to keep the art alive, it’s important not to give up hope. Instead, consider how you could keep your love of the dark room going for years to come. One fantastic option would be to incorporate a dark room into your home. That way, you can head there whenever you want. Even better, a dark room is much easier to incorporate than you might think.
First, you should consider how you can make this work. Where in your home would work best? Despite what you might believe, this doesn’t have to be a huge space. It does, however, need to be private and dark. Who would’ve thought! If exposed to even the smallest fraction of light, your photo paper will overexpose and ruin your pictures. Until set with a fixing solution, it’s crucial you keep your prints out of light’s way.
A box room in your home would serve the purpose, but a garage or basement is ideal. They’re dark and removed enough from the house that no unexpected little ones will barge in. Of course, you’ll need the space clear before you can use it. You’ll be walking around in the dark, so clutter on the floor would be a safety risk. Make sure to clear it yourself, or hire a house clearance company to do it for you if there’s a lot of clutter. Then, take the time to cover any windows with wooden boarding. You can’t risk any seepage, so ensure it’s pitch black! Job done, you can set about incorporating your equipment.
As this is your first darkroom, you might not know what you need. The good news is, it’s not too hard to find out. Companies like Ag Photographic provide the chance to buy starter kits which include everything you need. These are useful, and a fantastic way to save money. To give you an idea, a basic equipment list should include:
- An enlarger
- The correct chemicals
- A safety light
You can, of course, invest in more as you need it. But, for now, it might be best to stick to the basics. It’s also worth doing a little research into how to use everything if you aren’t already aware. This is all relatively simple stuff, but it may take you a few attempts to get the hang of things.