The Analogue Lab: Moving and expanding (Adelaide)

Discussion in 'Australia' started by Alex Bishop-Thorpe, Apr 1, 2013.

  1. Alex Bishop-Thorpe

    Alex Bishop-Thorpe Member

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    Hi all,

    I'm prone to post pretty infrequently these days largely because the part of my life when I'm not studying is mostly taken up by this thing.

    The short version of the story is that me and a friend started a darkroom here in South Australia in early 2012, built on top of 7 years of hoarded equipment plus 25-odd years in a darkroom between us. We both work extensively in experimental and alternative processes and needed a darkroom facility outside of a university in order to continue our practices, so we bit the bullet and built one. In order to pay the rent we started running workshops with the public and all of a sudden people were all over us and we couldn't keep up.

    Previously hosted by Fontanelle Gallery and Studios in Bowden, just outside of Adelaide's CBD, we've now taken out a two year lease at The Mill, a new arts incubator hub in Adelaide City (154 Angus St, just near the Central Markets). This means we have more space, we can split our lab into two rooms (White light room for film developing and alt-process work and then the darkroom space itself), the ability to build our space to our requirements in regards to electricity and plumbing, and finally put in a chemical mixing cabinet for dealing with the ether and iodine fumes we like to work with.

    Moving and expanding also means that we can finally hire out the space regularly on weekends, on top of the workshops we run, to help support a surprisingly large darkroom community here in Adelaide. In 2012 we ran seven workshops with more than 30 South Australians in everything from Wet Plate to how to use your Holga.

    In order to finance all of the work that needs to be done (all we have right now is square meters of floor space and a very large door), we've started a campaign to pre-sell some of the workshops for July and August, as well as a bunch of other neat things like darkroom access passes, etc. If you are interested in supporting grass-roots analogue photography, please give it a look. Even ten bucks gets your name on a plaque on the wall.

    http://www.pozible.com/project/19930/108537
     
  2. Michael W

    Michael W Member

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    Good to hear. I've put in $10 - I like the idea of a plaque on the wall with my name on it.
     
  3. AgX

    AgX Member

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    At your link I see a rotating door.

    When I started darkroom work and helped building up a friend's darkroom, the installation of a rotating door seemed to me indicating darkroom grandeur.
     
  4. Molli

    Molli Subscriber

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    Congratulations on the move (and the demand for it!). I'm afraid I was only able to pop enough in the kitty for two of the five of you to visit the bakery across the road :sad: but I hope it helps in some small way.
     
  5. hoffy

    hoffy Member

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    Good stuff Alex - and only a short walk from where I work. I'll have to make sure that I contribute in some way. Hmmm, $300 for a full day Wet Plate workshop......Hmmmmm

    Cheers
     
  6. Alex Bishop-Thorpe

    Alex Bishop-Thorpe Member

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    Thanks guys! We're off to Bunnings tomorrow to get started on materials, picking up a borrowed nail gun and speaking to the plumber again on Friday to iron out details. That darkroom door is like our prized possession now - The University of South Australia were about to throw it out and we happened across it just in time, I think we paid $30 for it in the end. It's a monstrous thing but you can fit ten people in it at a squeeze.
     
  7. Ken Nadvornick

    Ken Nadvornick Subscriber

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    Is this it?

    :smile:

    Ken
     
  8. Dr Croubie

    Dr Croubie Member

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    Wow, there's a darkroom in Adelaide?
    Colour me woohoo!
     
  9. Dr Croubie

    Dr Croubie Member

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    Meanwhile, I was thinking of the $35 thing for developing and enlarging, but it's been nearly 15 years since I did that at high school. Does the $75 option cover enlarging and such, or just for DIY film processing at home?
    (otherwise maybe I'll keep the '1-day pass' until after i've taken a proper refresher course).

    Also (please don't tell the missus because I've got enough work around the house I should be doing), can I lend a hand in any other ways? I've got a buttload of tools and I know how to use (most of) them, just a bit short on time these days is the only problem...
     
  10. Oxleyroad

    Oxleyroad Subscriber

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    Alex I wish you and your team all the best. I look forward to when you or your team might be again participate in the Oz / NZ print exchange. I will sponsor some funds once I have approval from the financial controller. The $300 wet plate. I would seriously consider this and the journey over from Melbourne for it.
     
  11. Alex Bishop-Thorpe

    Alex Bishop-Thorpe Member

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    That's it! (God I keep spelling it Angus, not Angas.) It's a pretty nice building, it has a big THE MILL sign up in the windows now. The upstairs workshop space of the complex is the best part, lovely big old industrial windows spewing light all over the place. We'll be using it to run our workshops. Our last location didn't have any windows so we shot wet plate with a bunch of halogen lamps for the UV, but window light will help a bunch.

    Thank you for the offer Dr Croubie! I'll let you know if we need a hand, we're just in the starting stages of assembly right now and we should have a better idea of the scale of it after the next few days. The one day film developing workshop doesn't cover printing as we find most people intend to scan rather than convert their laundry to a darkroom (something we of course try to encourage, but it's not for everyone), but if you come in for a day's printing I'd be happy to give you a one on one refresher on things. It'll all come back you after half an hour.
     
  12. hoffy

    hoffy Member

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    If you do Andy, I'll pressure the Minister for Funds and Fun and see if I can join in as well.
     
  13. Oxleyroad

    Oxleyroad Subscriber

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    Ok Ash we have a common challenge :smile:! And I would like to meet Alex and his team.
     
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  15. Dr Croubie

    Dr Croubie Member

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    Yeah, converting the laundry or bathroom is kind of out of the question (for a start, they've both got skylights, which we like). I've always had my films done by B+W in Stepney and then scanned, but just recently decided to start developing my own rolls (haven't started yet or even bought any chemicals or a tank, still researching, leaning towards xtol to start with). Come to think of it, maybe that $75 jobby might be a good idea anyway.
    (Aside, where do you buy chemicals around here? B+H have xtol for $10+30, Vanbar in melbourne have it for $15, I don't think Hutt St have it. If I could buy some mixed up occasionally, might save some hassles).

    I'm sort of remembering my darkroom days at school, only ever B+W. Load, frame, focus, choose a contrast filter, test-strip, dev bath, stop bath, fix bath, repeat. or something like that.
     
  16. Alex Bishop-Thorpe

    Alex Bishop-Thorpe Member

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    Thanks Andy! If you are in Melbourne I'd suggest giving Ellie Young a look at Gold Street Studios, her workshop is only slightly more expensive and definitely a lot closer. We've had calls from as far away as Sydney about the workshops in the past and for some cases Gold Street just makes a lot more sense. Ellie's also been wonderfully supportive of all of us and supplies the salted collodion we use in the lab here.
     
  17. Alex Bishop-Thorpe

    Alex Bishop-Thorpe Member

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    We're actually pretty lucky to have a lot of suppliers available here in Adelaide, we listed the ones we could think of here:
    http://www.analoguelab.com.au/analogue-in-adelaide/

    I'd go to Total Photographics in Kent Town, they have just about everything. Tanks, all the chemistry, fridge full of film, the whole lot. Xtol is a tricky one, I haven't seen it on shelves for about a year now, but it's my favorite too.

     
  18. Nige

    Nige Subscriber

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    I had a bathroom with a skylight I used for printing at one stage. I used to cover it with a heavy cloth cover (got the wife to sew it up like a fitted sheet!) and print at night. Worked fine!
     
  19. hoffy

    hoffy Member

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    Dr C, where abouts are you? (I'll also put a plug in for the Film and Dark Room users group, meeting at the Gilbert Street Hotel, probably on the 22nd of April.... :smile: )
     
  20. munz6869

    munz6869 Subscriber

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    Cool thing! I've always wanted my name on a plaque...

    Marc!
     
  21. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    Woah, sounds like you're yet ANOTHER Adelaidean; must be something in the water. Join us (me, hoffy, some old farts and sometimes Alex when he's not busy) for monthly pub nights! Mailing List Here.

    As to chemistry, I buy from L&P ("Total Photo") in Kent Town. $15ish for Xtol (I priced them as being slightly cheaper than B&H once you pay shipping, even in large quantities) and $55/5L for fixer. I have an unused bag of D76 if you want that on the cheap.
     
  22. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    L&P have Xtol in stock; I saw it yesterday.
     
  23. Dr Croubie

    Dr Croubie Member

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    Wow, you guys have thought of everything. Just checked out the L&P website, it's certainly not the best-written website, hardly any products and no prices (i'm a bit of a snob with online shops), looks like the kind of place I'd have to visit to appreciate, maybe on day after work or a weekend.

    Yeah, i've been almost everywhere and yet somehow manage to keep landing back here. It IS the water. It's just not chewy enough overseas. I'll see about coming to one of those meetups one of these days.

    Speaking of which, is anyone doing anything for World Pinhole Day? I've got some Skink kits for EF and l39, and with an adapter I can mount them on my P6/K60/K88 and Mamiya (and I've got proper sized holes for all 3 flange lengths). I'll probably be wandering around the city or elsewhere using up some of the many many rolls of expired-in-1991-Velvia-120 that seem to breed in my freezer, and/or some of the why-did-i-buy-30-rolls-of-135-Superia-800? Would be nice to shoot some 4x5s or something, maybe I'll go find an old shoebox and re-live Year 8 tech class...
     
  24. Alex Bishop-Thorpe

    Alex Bishop-Thorpe Member

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    Rad! I'll swing by and grab some, it's been yonks since I went to L&P, I'm sure there's some stuff out back we need.

    Their website is pretty not great, but in person they are actually the best shop in Adelaide for this sort of thing, good to have a chat to as well. I think Adelaide Film and Darkroom User Group folks get a bit of discount there too, even more reason to come along and nab a beer with the gents once a month. I'll try to make it along to a meeting soon too, and organise a stickybeak at the new place for everybody when there's something exciting to actually look at.
     
  25. Oxleyroad

    Oxleyroad Subscriber

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    Well I can't get approval for the Wet Plate, but threw some money into the kitty anyway. Best of luck, I will drop by on my next work trip to Adelaide to see this new lab
     
  26. Alex Bishop-Thorpe

    Alex Bishop-Thorpe Member

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    We do owe a pretty enormous THANK YOU to the APUGger who have contributed, we've met our pledge target and then a little more on top of that. Remember, anything you contribute helps, anything above our target goes into infrastructure on the lab. Maybe we can gyprock both sides of the walls instead of just the insides - maybe we can even get a little red light that turns on above the door when we have our safelights on. I just thought of that tonight but I should chat to the sparky about it on Monday.

    We are making pretty good progress so far

    The stud walls are all up and stage one of the electrical wiring is all in as of this morning, by Wednesday all the plumbing will be done and the elecricity finished off and we can spend a few evenings hanging gyprock on the inside, putting in vents, etc. The List of jobs left to do is a bit unpleasant to look at so I wont list them off, but by this time next week it will be a room (well, two) that is dark inside. That's a start. Still on track to open our doors in late May.
     
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