children in the darkroom

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by jp498, Jan 22, 2011.

  1. jp498

    jp498 Member

    Messages:
    1,467
    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2009
    Location:
    Owls Head ME
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    My 5yo has been "helping" in the darkroom for about two years now. Only allowed in when I'm in there. If I'm in there, she has to knock and ask before entering (and otherwise ruining what I'm working on), and must not touch any chemicals or trays except for the wash tray.

    Seeing images come out on paper isn't so magical to kids these days who expect instant miracles of digital imaging. While not fussy, she actually prefers to help when I'm doing film as the lights are on and there's no prints taking up space in the wash. It's a fun place to play with water.

    She is completely enthralled with the bright colors of the prewash. In goes clear water, out comes purple, blue, or green water! She'll play in a 16x20 tray with water for a long time. And seeing the gralab clock go backwards is pretty special.

    Here's a 45ish second clip of her "ABC Winter Wipeout" course setup in the 16x20 wash tray. It's the night time part of the show, since the water is dark (with TMY2 prewash).

    You'll notice quite a few film developing items not being used for their intended purposes.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KUkhhHR6Xfk

    Parents; what do your kids like in the darkroom?
     
  2. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

    Messages:
    4,252
    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2009
    Location:
    Central Flor
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    As someone who had his first soldering iron at 7 years old and built his first kit radio, I am so glad your girl is getting her opportunity to "feel" science before she is taught. You might be starting in her something you've never imagined or intended. I'm so sad, that these days, most kids are shielded from these early and potentially very inspiring experiences.
     
  3. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

    Messages:
    7,438
    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2009
    Location:
    northern Pa.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    My (now 13yo) daughter is a seasoned pro in the darkroom, as well as an accomplished photographer. The only thing she doesn't do is load film reels, she does, however, is load 4x5 film holders for herself, and unload them for taco style processing. She's been in the DR all her life and has learned the same way yours is jp498. Dont think for one moment she isn't learning just by being in there with you. Keep her going, her attention span will grow rapidly because of you allowing her play time.
     
  4. Marco B

    Marco B Member

    Messages:
    2,981
    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2005
    Location:
    The Netherla
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    :smile: Fun to watch, thanks for sharing.

    You may wish to rethink though having her play with your CombiPlan 4x5 tanks filmholder clip, the one that keeps the sheets in the "reel" when you turn the tank upside down.

    I recently accidentally crushed mine by stepping on it while it had fallen onto the ground...

    At 150 Euro for a new tank (still need to find a solution), breaking this small and fragile, but vital, item can be a costly accident waiting to happen :wink:
     
  5. SuzanneR

    SuzanneR Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    5,891
    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2004
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Mine used to come in to rock the trays at times, and once both sat patiently while I tray processed to sheets of 8x10 film that I had exposed moments before (of them). These days, though, I can't seem to get them interested in it. Then again, I haven't really tried to get them to come in there for awhile, and I tend to do my printing when they are at school. They are old enough to learn, I will say, maybe it's time to get them each a good quality film camera!!
     
  6. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

    Messages:
    7,438
    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2009
    Location:
    northern Pa.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    SuzanneR, my daughter is allowed to use any of my cameras, and has adopted one of my 4x5's for her own. I have given her a Pentax 35mm p&s, but she insists on using my OM-1, or Mamiya C-220. No way will I ever stop her from using my cameras. I even bought an OM-77af, she considers herself way beyond automatic anything, so my wife uses that one. Give them an entry level camera, load it with any film, and let them loose on the world. When the film is developed, get excited over the results with them, and get them hooked.
     
  7. jawarden

    jawarden Member

    Messages:
    75
    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2009
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    My kids are 8 and 6, and just last week for the first time saw a print develop from "magic water" (what they call it) before their eyes. They just about fainted.

    :smile:
     
  8. Katie

    Katie Subscriber

    Messages:
    764
    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2010
    Location:
    Texas, USA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    How fun. I hope to involve my 9 year old son when my darkroom is finally built. I have given him an old Canon Rebel 35mm camera and he LOVES to take pictures with it. He prefers it over any old dumb P&S digital (which seem to be everywhere these days).
     
  9. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

    Messages:
    6,930
    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2007
    Location:
    Richmond VA.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I'm a little kid in a darkroom!

    Jeff
     
  10. ntenny

    ntenny Member

    Messages:
    2,283
    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2008
    Location:
    San Diego, C
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    My dad put a darkroom in the basement when I was about six or seven, and I had some of the best times of my whole childhood hanging out in there. I remember thinking the safelight and the glow-in-the-dark timer were particularly cool, as well as the smell of fixer and seeing the image come up in the developing tray. Darkrooms and kids are a natural combination, I think.

    -NT
     
  11. Wayne

    Wayne Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,130
    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2005
    Location:
    USA
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    I had a darkroom in my house growing up, and I don't recall an age when I was barred from it. Course people were smarter back then, now people need labels to tell them not to drink the Dektol. Having grown up with one is probably part of the reason I still have one-I think it's imprinted on me.
     
  12. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

    Messages:
    6,930
    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2007
    Location:
    Richmond VA.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    When I was a lab tech at a local community college and sometimes people bring in their kids, I had to through them out.

    Jeff
     
  13. Kevin Caulfield

    Kevin Caulfield Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,392
    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2004
    Location:
    Melbourne, A
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    My nearly 4 and 5.5 year old sons will sometimes come into the darkroom while I'm printing. Their interest will vary from watching one print develop to maybe five or six consecutive prints. They're probably not too far away from learning to rock the trays. They also show interest in film developing and are usually impatient to see the negs. Only a couple of weeks ago I let each of them take a photo of the other with my Wista 4 x 5, and the phots were actually quite good, better than my own from the same session. Also, I have a revolving darkroom door, which is great for kids to get into the darkroom.
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

    Messages:
    4,252
    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2009
    Location:
    Central Flor
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    "This bag is not a toy. Keep this bag away from reach of any children. Children playing with this bag may suffocate and result in death or serious injury."

    Just how stupid have we become??

    It used to be common sense to know these things and watch for our own and our children's safety. Now it is common sense to protect ourselves from being sued by those who are seriously lacking common sense.

    Times have changed...
     
  16. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

    Messages:
    2,223
    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2005
    Location:
    Regina, SK,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    My 6-year-old niece comes into the darkroom sometimes. She's quite intrigued by it.

    I cut up a large chunk of Eastman 5222 to put in a bulk film loader and she and my four-year-old nephew both came in the darkroom in the pitch black while I did it. I thought it would be a good way to show them that darkness is not a bad thing. My nephew wanted to be in contact range of my leg but otherwise they were quite well behaved. They were very chatty which wasn't a bad thing - loading film in the pitch black isn't all that fun.

    My niece is very keen to actually develop a print on her own... maybe in a year or so. She's certainly intrigued by the process.
     
  17. Ken N

    Ken N Member

    Messages:
    382
    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2004
    Location:
    Creston and
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I was still in diapers when I first went into the darkroom. I hope to still be in the darkroom when I need to wear diapers again.
     
  18. Wayne

    Wayne Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,130
    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2005
    Location:
    USA
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    That would make an awesome signature file. :smile: Me too, and I'm (at least) halfway there. :sad::tongue:
     
  19. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

    Messages:
    8,003
    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2008
    Location:
    Los Angeles,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Kids like rolling in the dirt on the floor of my darkroom. It is the only way the floor gets cleaned, so it's fine by me! But I was almost certain they were sneaking nips off of the fixer tray when I went to the other room to wash my prints, so I set up a trap. I busted one of them the other day because he didn't know I had made a pencil mark on the tray to mark the level. I am putting the little snake on black widow duty next time he visits! That's if the rat doesn't get out of it by claiming entrapment!
     
  20. phaedrus

    phaedrus Member

    Messages:
    463
    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2006
    Location:
    Waltershause
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    If you do it together (and what could be more enjoyable?) children can do even complicated procedures in the darkroom. Here's my son, then 15 years old, doing photopolymer gravure:
    [​IMG]
    Couldn't find the photo where he etches a proper copper plate for photogravure in acid. :wink:
     
  21. jp498

    jp498 Member

    Messages:
    1,467
    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2009
    Location:
    Owls Head ME
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Great thread! When my daughter is a year or two older to get some cleanliness skills, perhaps I'll get her working the trays. For now, I'd forsee lots of cross contamination.

    When I was a teen, I had my own darkroom setup for 35mm and I'm still using many of the original items twenty years later. I also etched copper for making circuit boards, but not for photogravure. Didn't learn any of it from my parents though. That was back when Radio Shack had electronics components in stock, and three photo stores had paper, film, and chemicals locally in stock.
     
  22. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

    Messages:
    9,092
    Joined:
    May 3, 2006
    Location:
    Ryde, Isle o
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Me too.

    My daughter, who is now thirteen, claimed a Minolta SRT as her own when I 'accidently' bought two on ebay a couple of years ago.



    Steve.
     
  23. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

    Messages:
    9,092
    Joined:
    May 3, 2006
    Location:
    Ryde, Isle o
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Back in the 1980s, comedian Alexei Sayle had part of a routine where he claimed someone was trying to kill him and said that someone had posted a plastic bag to him with the warning about not putting it over your head crossed out.



    Steve.
     
  24. JayGannon

    JayGannon Member

    Messages:
    85
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2010
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    While not darkroom my 3 year old brother can make some wicked photos with my d2x, he has the idea of aiming taking the photo and reviewing it all down to an art.
    I bought him a cheap digital camera for christmas =)
     
  25. bsdunek

    bsdunek Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,351
    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2006
    Location:
    Michigan
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    This is great to read. I'm glad at least some are teaching their kids something besides playing on the computer or whatever electronic whizz-bang. I see very little creativity in my grandkids and their friends. I try to show them some things but I guess they just think Grandpa is too old. Keep showing them kids how to do stuff with their minds and hands - they'll be the better for it.
     
  26. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

    Messages:
    4,423
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2009
    Location:
    Rochester NY
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I don't have kids yet, but I bet when I do they'll be conceived in a fairly dark room. It's more romantic that way.

    Crude humour aside... these kids will all benefit from seeing "grandpa" or "mom" or whoever doing this archaic dance that we do.