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  1. #1
    joeyk49's Avatar
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    Why a home darkroom?

    I've read a number of threads regarding how what many members have done to create a workable darkroom in their own home, flat, apartment, gym locker, whathaveyou...

    My question is: If there was a location in your locale that had above average to excellent darkroom facilities available to both the amatuer and professional alike, would you take advantage of this.

    Say, for instance, that your local high school or community college offered their facilities to the ublic at a reasonable fee. Would you use it or stay with the home based and home made darkroom? If a camera shop opened its darkroom to photographers, would you rent time there, or would you stay home, and why?

    It just seems to me that many of the members defer to their home based dark rooms (I am currently constructing one of my own.) and I'm wondering if its because they can choose which enlargers, etc. to use or if its because notheing else is available to them?

    Waddayathink?
    Fixer scented Glade; for those that just can't leave the darkroom.

  2. #2
    jovo's Avatar
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    Too easy a question!! I've finally got a dedicated darkroom of my own and I'd never use another unless I were away from home or a rental/community one had some equipment or the like (20x24 trays, easel, and washer for example) that I don't. The luxury of going into my own little in house cocoon is waaaay too cozy and seductive to relinquish for anywhere else.

    Another aspect of course, is that I can be and am careful and attentive in the maintainance of the darkroom and its' equipment; I doubt any other would experience that same degree of care.

    Congratulations on the future completion of your own 'nest'. You'll love it!!
    John Voss

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  3. #3

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    Can only comment on my own situation, I could have taken classes and used the darkroom at a community college, but time and distance were a problem. With a darkroom at home it is much easier to just grab an hour here or there and get something done. That, plus the fact, it keeps me motivated to continue working on a given negative/print ... something an external darkroom would make more difficult.

    Besides, I Love It!! No worries about digital this or that, why do it this way, why use this developer or that paper...it's all set up the way I want.
    Mike C

    Rambles

  4. #4
    Sjixxxy's Avatar
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    Home darkroom = Not having to wait around or come back later after to pick up stuff after it had a chance to dry. I used to use a blotter book for prints, but that just ended up being one more thing I had to carry around when working in one that didn't have lockers.

    Though public darkrooms are fun just because there are other like-minded people around to communicate with. Just as long as you don't work in the same area as the photo I students who tend to cross contaminate everything.

  5. #5
    fhovie's Avatar
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    I just can't visualize myself carting all my chemicals and papers to a darkroom where I will need to concentrate on a project and work around others trying to do the same thing. - When I get started on a (1) print - it may take hours for me to take it where I want it to go. Plus my preferred list of equipment is likely not in a public darkroom. Will they have a condenser enlarger head installed? Will they have the press I need or the glass carriers I won't work without. I do my color in a pro lab down the street and it is always a comprimise on what is there, what works - That is because most facilites are geared to commercial quality which is often different than art quality.

  6. #6

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    I would say the darkroom is an extension of the camera. Just like learning to use and become comfortable with your camera, it is important to be comfortable when making the print. Perhaps even more important, as it is in the darkroom where we make the "performance." Being comfortable in the darkroom allows you to try more things, experiment, etc. Things that normally one would not try on a public darkroom due to time or other external pressures. Taking pictures without having a darkroom is like drinking champagne in a Styrofoam cup. It can be done, but somehow just does not feel right....

  7. #7
    joeyk49's Avatar
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    Wow! With unanimous consent, I will extend and revise my remarks...

    Go Private Darkrooms!

    I got the idea that I needed to develop and print my own stuff when my prints were coming back from the commercial lab with some really nasty imperfections. Dirty rollers or contamination, which ruined my negs...repeatedly!

    But I can't help but wonder... for the same reason that many photographers rent lenses from camera shops, why not rent dark room equipment? Does it even exist? If I want to experiment with a particular process or lens or paper, why not rent it or buy it in smaller quantities, before I decide if I like the equipment of process, etc.

    The control and care taking issues are EXTREMELY valid points. Nobody takes care of my stuff like I do. But the economics of the issue keep nagging at me...
    Fixer scented Glade; for those that just can't leave the darkroom.

  8. #8
    noblebeast's Avatar
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    When I am in the darkroom I don't like to watch the hour hand on the clock - just the second and minute hands. There is a local darkroom rental facility quite close to my home, but their hourly rate seems exorbitant. They do offer a pre-pay monthly rate that was, when I last checked, in the neighborhood of $185 dollars and had limits on the amount of time one could spend there. For about fifty dollars less than the monthly fee at the rental place I was able to acquire everything I needed on Ebay to set up a darkroom at home, except for a dust/fur free place to dry film. That I was able to build out of spare plywood and about another twenty-five bucks at the hardware store for an exhaust fan and other small necessaries. As Jorge said, one has to become intimately comfortable with the equipment to really do one's best - you just can't do that with other people's stuff.
    Latent Images Plastic Toy Cameras

    "Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive" - Howard Thurman

  9. #9
    galyons's Avatar
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    Joey,
    I am just completing a 2 year home darkroom project. For me, there are three main reasons...control, convenience and control. I have used community, school and "for rent" darkrooms. It is nice to have the company, but I found it very difficult to work "my way". A fully functional personal darkroom is heaven sent!!

    Cheers,
    Geary

  10. #10
    joeyk49's Avatar
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    Control freaks, one and all

    Gaylons:

    By the way, thanks again. The tank will probably get rechristened in about a weeks time...

    All:

    It sounds as though there is a well established consensus for processing your own stuff.

    Now here comes the strange part...

    My plans entail having me convert a small bathroom (about 3.75' x 6') in to my darkroom. This should prove interesting. It's in the basement, easily sealed from extraneous light sources, has running water, a drain and a vent fan. The only detraction is the size of the room. I've got to get real creative in my engineering.

    I plan to used temporary shelving and wall/chair rail mouldings for support. I will probably have to use 3/4 of the avalable space in the room.

    Does anyopne else have similar experiences with their own dark rooms? How about sharing your sucessful darkroom configurations with the rest of us? Post photos? Hey, there's a photo challenge... you, self portrait, in your darkroom....now how do we do this with available light...LOL....

    Joe
    Fixer scented Glade; for those that just can't leave the darkroom.

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