Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Darkroom photography: frustrations and triumphs

A photo for our depth of field assignment
On Mondays from 9:45-12:45 I put my phone away and learn about the art form of darkroom photography. As someone who spends most of their time in front of a screen, those few hours of screen-free time have become some of my favorite. I get to ignore my hectic outside world for a bit and focus on something that takes true patience and concentration.
Today photography is so immediate. I can snap a photo with my phone and upload it to Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram in seconds to share with my friends. When I'm "taking my time" with it, I'll use my DSLR and upload them to my computer to edit and upload at a later time. Now, I'm forced to take a step back and plan out every single piece of my art. There is no immediate reward, no LCD screen on the camera to see what image I just captured, no way to just send it to a computer. There is far much more to it (including more pressure).

The whole process requires a lot of trial and error and I've made my fair share of mistakes. Between ruining papers, overexposing film, misaligning borders, and creasing the negatives, this has definitely been a bit of a challenge. Thankfully I have been able to meet individually with my professor to get one-on-one training on how to make prints.

Contact sheets & prints
Despite the time, attention to detail, and inevitable frustration that comes along with darkroom photography, this class has been perhaps too much fun for me. I go to the darkroom twice a week outside of class and make prints just for myself and friends. This has also been a great opportunity for me to practice my photography skills and learn the technical aspects of photography. And like I said before, it's wonderful to get away from screens for a bit and take the time to create something beautiful. There's nothing like creating something to start to finish, especially when you watch the photo develop right before your eyes.

My first project & best photo yet
Pictured: my roommate Piper

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