In the Darkroom

“Window Lily”

I’ve been taking a Black & White Darkroom class at Kendall College of Art & Design for the past few weeks. While I do very much enjoy the art of black & white photography, the darkroom and I have a love/hate relationship. Being a digital photographer and graphic designer, this has been a huge lesson in patience! (What? You mean I can’t plug in my USB and instantly have hundreds of images before me?!) Film and darkroom processing is definitely its own art form, and I have a ton of respect for those who choose to stick with it. While I love learning about the process and trying new techniques, I don’t think I’ll be hanging up my Digital SLR any time soon ;)

I do, however, truly enjoy shooting with my Canon AE-1 Program. It is the camera that my parents bought shortly after I was born. I lost my dad a few years ago, so using his camera has really meant a lot to me. Not only is it the camera I learned with, but the manual has my mom’s handwritten notes in it, and the lenses and cumbersome carrying case are the original ones that my dad picked out and was so proud of. That case also holds the bittersweet memory of childhood… it is stained with smoke from the house fire that took our home and most of our belongings when I was 4 years old. The camera survived, and has taken many photos of us kids growing up, and has been with me since I left home for college. I love shooting with it… regardless of the darkroom being a tedious process. It’s true what they say though, there is something special about film photography. There’s nothing quite like seeing your image slowly and magically appear in that tray of developer ;)

“Jamie” – alternative process – high contrast filter, laid objects on photographic paper while exposing negative in enlarger

“Vintage Daisies” – alternative process – high contrast filter used with thick fibrous light diffuser, dirty glass over photographic paper while exposing

  • Kerri - Wow, there’s lot of history that comes along with your camera. Great story…I love finding out more and more about the people I “chat” with on a daily basis.

  • Keri - Beautiful story about the history of your camera. It brought a tear to my eye.

    I love the “Vintage Daisies” photo.

  • Spark Creative Photography - Hi! I just happened to find your blog and thought I would leave you a comment.

    The darkroom is hard! I took some darkroom classes at GRCC a few years ago and used my dad’s old camera. I learned a lot but it made me love my digital camera even more. G

    Great daisy photo!

  • Christina - How cool! I was wondering how your class was going. Love the story. Great pictures!! Not sure if I have the patience to develop my own film! Good for you.

  • Heather - how cool is it that you have your mom’s camera with all her little notes? great history and story!

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