A Return to Darkroom Photography

An article by David Brooks on October 1, 2008


*******Artistic Negatives Here

When I was in college at Spring Arbor I took a class that changed my life, that class was Photography 1. Instead of taking the easy way out the professor actually had us start with darkroom photography as opposed to digital.

I will admit that the professor was difficult, but I respect that. He wasn’t mean, he wanted us to do well and I for one benefited from that difficult instruction. I spent hours in the darkroom trying to get film developed, prints made and images dodged and burned. …And it was so much fun.

This year my wife gets to take Photography 2 (darkroom photography) at Asbury College, which is great news because it’s a good excuse to take photos and develop prints along side her. I love digital photography (maybe a bit too much at times) but there’s something amazing about looking at a print that you developed from start to finish.

My first printing session consisted of returning to photos that I had taken back at Spring Arbor, the ones that I never got to turn out right. Apparently after four years they were a bit easier to manage. Here are some of those results:

*****Show Reprints

I mainly printed those out of boredom, since I hadn’t been shooting with film in the past little while. On our second trip to the darkroom I finally had something new to print.

*****Show Contact Sheet

We took a walk through the field behind Asbury College and these are some of the results. Not the most impressive ones I’ve ever taken, but it was fun. For this shoot I used my mom’s old Pentax camera with a 50mm lens. There’s not much distance on that particular lens but it covers a nice, neutral range. Here are some examples from the shoot:

*****Show Shots from the Field

On some of these photos you’ll notice a dark border instead of a white one. I actually printed these like this on purpose, choosing a negative carrier that was slightly bigger than the negative itself. Letting some light go around the images gave the dark border, instead of blocking it like I normally would to produce the white border on the other prints.

So there you have it, the first round of darkroom photography this semester. I’m hoping to have more soon, but we’ll see what time allows.

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About David Brooks

David Brooks is the owner of the small creative studio, Northward Compass, based out of Orlando, Florida. He writes electronic and ambient music as Light The Deep, and fantasy stories about a place called Elerien.

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