I’ve been waiting for this post for ages. You guys really have no idea how excited I am to finally talk about it. A friend of mine mentioned that there was going to be a public darkroom at the art space known as Brick Haus. After emailing them multiple times and inquiring about it on their website, I received no responses, so I thought that it may have just been a rumor.
BUT IT’S REAL! The Baltimore Sun published an article yesterday all about it. Not only is there one darkroom opening up at Brick Haus, but there is also another opening in artist run gallery called Current Space. Yay!
This means a lot to our communities, both the film community and the artist community as a whole. Before this idea came about, NYC was the only place I knew of that had rent able public darkrooms, some going up to $50 per hour of use. Crazy talk right there. So much art these days is done via computer programs like Photoshop, Garage Band, Adobe products, etc that people forget how to make art without the aid of technology. Art isn’t just a hobby, but very therapeutic if I do say so myself. I have not been in a darkroom since high school but I remember the long hours spent in there. The solitude of the dark, the patience while processing, the music in my ears as I waited for my roll to finish up. The feeling you get when your print comes out with no dust or particles. Even the noise of squeegeeing off my negatives was a part of the relaxation.
I think the bigger impact of these darkrooms opening up will teach artists to slow down. Take a breath. There is no need for immediacy in art, which is sadly what our society has taught us. People are so determined to get instant results that we often overlook the process that makes things beautiful. A digital print can be beautiful yes, but a print made in a darkroom is a one of a kind labor of love that cannot be replicated exactly the same way.
Most of the equipment needed for developing black and white has been donated to the spaces. Hopefully this new emergence brings old photographers out of the woodwork and curious younger people out to experiment with film. This year film is anything but dead and Baltimore will have the spaces to prove it.
WILL YOU TRY IT OUT?