It's the little things.. (aka: I heart the darkroom)

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by f/stopblues, Sep 30, 2009.

  1. f/stopblues

    f/stopblues Member

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    I recently started printing in a darkroom again after a long hiatus. I only printed RC before, but now am printing VC fiber.

    One of the unexpected little pleasures I've discovered is the feel of wet fiber paper. It's so unlike the plasticy RC paper, especially while wet, and it looks really rich once dried. I'm definitely a fan!

    Are there any simple pleasures in the darkroom you guys enjoy? The materials, the solidarity, the process, etc.. Share your thoughts! Long live wet printing :smile:

    Chris
     
  2. bsdunek

    bsdunek Subscriber

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    The smell! When I was a kid, I loved the smell in Dad's darkroom, and that still means creativity to me.
    I agree about the feel of fiber paper, even though I mostly use RC. It's so easy!
     
  3. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    I also like the smell of the darkroom. Even though I use a lot of RC paper, fiber does have its feel that I can't resist.

    Jeff
     
  4. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    Me too. The smell of fixer is the childhood memory that followed me around for years and eventually played no small part in bringing me back to film. (I'm using TF-4 at the moment, but I may end up going back to acid fixers just for olfactory reasons.)

    -NT
     
  5. ozphoto

    ozphoto Subscriber

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    The magic of watching the image appear on my paper of choice for the session; my nieces loved seeing this happen for the first time just last month - totally captivated! (They didn't appreciate the darkroom smells quite so much. :surprised:)

    Oh well, maybe they'll grow into it........:D
     
  6. DWThomas

    DWThomas Subscriber

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    So true. A guy was bending my ear the other day about getting an Epson something or other that prints with multiple cartridges for gray scale. I told him even though my first prints were done about fifty years ago, it's still like Christmas morning seeing an image begin to appear as I rock that tray.

    DaveT
     
  7. Ken Nadvornick

    Ken Nadvornick Subscriber

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    OMG. I am not alone!

    I compound all of my working chemistry from bulk. So I can make anything I choose. And I still use Kodak's acid F-5 as my standard film fixer.

    Why?

    The smell. I love it. It lingers. On your hands. Your clothes. And in the darkroom itself. I can walk back in a week later and it's still subtly there. Comforting. Reassuring. It makes me feel young again.

    Another smell in the same category?

    Kodachrome.

    Open a new roll while you still have the chance. Pop the plastic top and immediately smell the canister inside. Heaven on earth.

    I asked someone once what their CCD smelled like. They just looked at me with a strained expression, then quickly walked away...

    Ken
     
  8. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    I have a cow orker who grew up in what was then the Ukraine S.S.R. in the 1970s. On last year's "International Commie Camera Day" (1 May, of course), I walked into his office and unexpectedly handed him my Mir rangefinder in its leather case. After his eyes shrank back to normal size, the first thing he did was bring the camera to his nose and inhale deeply. He said it was the smell of childhood for him.

    -NT
     
  9. mark

    mark Member

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    I was watching a print come out of my dad's printer one day. I must have had a sad look on my face. He asked me if the image was not printing right. I just sighed and told him watching it come out of a printer was no where near the same as it coming up in a tray.

    I miss the darkroom. The smell, the negative image shot onto the paper, the image coming up in the tray, the zone I get into where time seems to stand still and hours go by unnoticed. Anyone ever noticed their whole body rocking as they rock the trays.
     
  10. mark

    mark Member

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    This gave me a chuckle
     
  11. Ektagraphic

    Ektagraphic Member

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    I love the whole process! I love working with my Beseler 23C and my GraLab timer. I love processing prints and I really love my safelight. I don't think that there is anything that I don't like about darkroom. I even love to mix chemicals.
     
  12. DLawson

    DLawson Member

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    Don't you mean "carefully backed away"?
     
  13. eddym

    eddym Member

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    I'm really, REALLY afraid to ask what that is... or what he/she/it is doing to some poor cow. :surprised:
     
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  15. David Brown

    David Brown Subscriber

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    I used to ork cattle, but I was younger then.
     
  16. bsdunek

    bsdunek Subscriber

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    Yes! Each film has it' own 'bouquet'. Glad you brought that up.
     
  17. bsdunek

    bsdunek Subscriber

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    I grew up on the farm, and I can't remember ever doing that. I'm sure my Dad would have punished me severely if I had.
     
  18. jeroldharter

    jeroldharter Member

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    I love the quiet, the dark and the light, the silence and the noise (sometimes music), the rhythm, the machines and gadgets, the standardization and my tweaks, the individuality, and the unforgiving but honest results.
     
  19. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    I love the grain! Nothing looks better than a completely unantialiased, unsampled, ununsharp masked, unadjusted optical print. It looks completely natural, because it is. Just light on gelatin and silver. Very plain and beautiful.
     
  20. lorirfrommontana

    lorirfrommontana Member

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    I have to say that the smell of the Darkroom is my favorite. The next favorite thing is seeing the image appear on the paper. It is magical and never seems to be ordinary no matter how many times I print. The alone time. Just me and my paper, enlarger, negatives trays and chems making images. It is all pretty magical.
     
  21. PVia

    PVia Member

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    I brought my 6 year old daughter into the dimroom to watch me pour developer on a freshly exposed palladium print and her wonderment, almost a gasp, was so satisfying. I hope she'll remember that moment when she's older...
     
  22. ricksplace

    ricksplace Member

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    Yeah, the smells are wonderful and nostalgic. It's the tactile "ness" of the whole procedure that I find pleasurable. The tanks, the film, pouring chemical solutions, handling the paper, setting the timers, etc. Just not the same sitting at a computer.
     
  23. ozphoto

    ozphoto Subscriber

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    All this talk of the darkroom is making me envious. Now that I'm based in BKK, a darkroom is "the stuff dreams are made of" right now. :sad:
    With luck, if I get the chance to fly home later this year (early next) for a bit, I'll go crazy in mine just to keep me satisfied that little bit longer! :smile:

    Long live the wet process - the dry one drives me to tears.
     
  24. nick mulder

    nick mulder Member

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    I don't have much love for darkrooms - that is why I gravitate towards alt processes that get me out of them...

    But one smell I remember as a child and that still excites me is aviation fuel, basically airports ... I love them ! My father flew, so there you go :wink:
     
  25. bsdunek

    bsdunek Subscriber

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    Absolutely! What's even better is to have Dad's plane. We picked up the 170 at the Cessna factory in Wichita in August, 1950, and flew it home. I was eleven.
    It still has the same smell of aviation fuel, leather, and other things. Every time I open the door I have to draw it in.
     

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  26. Terrence Brennan

    Terrence Brennan Member

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    My darkroom

    The solitude it affords. It is my very special place, where I go to finish the creative process which started with the camera exposure. And there are no inflated egos, no self-superior fauxtographers and alleged photographers to (try and) tell me what to do.

    I built it myself, from scratch, and I know every nail, every screw, every inch of electrical wire and all of the plumbing, intimately. There is my sweat, some of my blood and a lot of my time invested in that room, and I never take it for granted.