Perhaps on an international basis, Harmon could organize a central fund that all of us could contribute to in a small way. That fund could help subsidize already existing facilities that might be on the brink of closing, but would not have to with an infusion of cash, and the awareness that there are a lot of people who would be happy to have their facility available to rent at a reasonable rate (kept affordable by 'The Fund'). It's just a thought, but there might be some merit in considering it or some variation of it.
Took the survey, too!
Filled out the survey and I would be happy to let people use my darkroom. It's in a separate structure in my backyard.
However, where I live I think people would be far better served going to our EXCELLENT community darkroom, The Newspace Center for Photography. It is cheap to rent by the hour and the facility is amazing. By far the best community darkroom facility I have ever used on the west coast.
I applaud this idea by Ilford and think you should move forward with it. I also think Ilford would do well to really emphasize with people that "darkroom" doesn't necessarily have to be a dedicated space. That is a misconception I run into all the time with people interested in trying out film. Anyone, and I mean ANYONE, with access to running water can at the very least develop their own film at home. There are also a ton of creative solutions for printing. Take a look at Ted Forbes as an example on YouTube. He put together a nice enlarger set up that can be wheeled around to any room of the house and tucked away in a corner nice and clean when not in use.
All I'm really saying here is be careful not push the false perception that a darkroom has to be this big grand type setup that requires a ton of extra space.
I did the survey and indicated that I would not open my darkroom since it's in my home. However, I built the current one so that it I would be able to teach individuals or give small workshops, and I have done a workshop. However, I have found that locally (North Texas) there just does not seem to be much market for this. There are more than me around that would gladly help a beginner ("vetted" as it were), but beginners are not beating down our doors.
A few local schools still teach B&W. The University of North Texas has quite a large photography program, for instance. But, I believe the last for hire darkroom closed up a few years ago.
Or Harman could subsidize those involved in training people in darkroom printing with discounted chemistry and paper (within feasible limits and based on feedback). This would both promote Ilford chemistry and encourage the preservation of the craft.
The guy who taught me used Ilford chemistry so I use Ilford chemistry and If I ever help someone with printing I would most likely use Ilford chemistry and papers.
I have been discussing a similar prospect with a friend of mine in Switzerland who owns a photo store and lab. He has started offering courses on lomo and Ilford pinhole and developing to youngsters so that they can get turned on. The ideal would be to get the local community involved in locale funding and to get vendors involved in some kind of sponsorship (discounted chemistry for example)
That is how I feel about it.
Originally Posted by Thomas Bertilsson
To further the awareness of community darkroom space, in the Washington DC metro area I am aware of at least two - there are probably more.
In Glen Echo, Maryland, there is Glen Echo Photoworks, which has rental darkrooms, digital workspace and gallery/exhibition space. http://www.glenechophotoworks.org
In Rockville, Maryland, there is the Washington School of Photography, which has rental darkrooms, rental studios, and exhibition space. http://www.washingtonschoolofphotography.com/
VisArts art center in Rockville, Maryland USED to have a rental darkroom, but still has studio space. They MIGHT be able to be coerced into restoring their darkroom if enough people asked for it. http://www.visartsatrockville.org/
I did the survey. I would not be willing to rent/let others use my darkroom. Its in my spare bathroom, which guests also use on occasion. Trays have to sit on the floor for right now, so its not really set up for ease of use for all people either. I'd be willing to show others how to do darkroom printing and give little workshops. I'd also be willing to let friends who I know well use the darkroom as well.
Now, in 20 years when my wife and I build our dream home, this would be something very possible. Our plan is to have a large room that is basically a studio. Large square room, concrete floors. Large standing height table in the center. Sewing station for all of her sewing projects. Probably an area with a pottery wheel and kiln. There will also be a full built in darkroom accessed through a revolving door. Theoretically, this studio would be attached to the house, but would have a door that could be locked from the inside to the rest of the house. I could allow people access from the outside of the room. Maybe even via a key fob system that would restrict days and hours of entry. One can dream!
That bums me out I was going to come by soon.:D
Originally Posted by Sirius Glass
As always, Ilford is looking after the film community and how to make it better. I love you guys!
I took the survey but I fall into the group that is not comfortable sharing my darkroom with people I don't know. I have friends that I have let use it on occasion and that is fine with me.
I think the idea of helping to coordinate darkroom sources is nice but perhaps time and resources could be better put to use by producing some teaching videos. Some possible subjects could be putting together a home darkroom that can be set up and taken down easily (such as in bathrooms or kitchens), how to process film with daylight tanks etc.
I agree with Tori - it would be great to produce some educational materials that would help people see that setting up darkroom space at home is not difficult or impractical or expensive. I've had four darkrooms that consisted a bathroom, three of which were the only bathroom in the house. Everything I needed could be stored on a rolling cart and I could set up and start enlarging within a half an hour. And in all of those darkrooms, I was able to print up to 16x20.