I Need Help! (Darkroom Setup/Layout)
I'm new to the darkroom (i.e. when I develop my next roll it will be my first... )
I'm a teacher, and I plan to learn and practice developing film over the summer. I have an oportunity to install a darkroom at the school I work at or next year for use by the photography club (I'm the sponsor).
The room(s) we will be getting will be laid out like the diagram below. My plan is to install a darkroom in the smaller room and put a studio in the larger, longer room. There is no running water to either room, and having it installed is not an option. There is, however, running water outside of the entrance to the smaller room.
We had a Dichro 67 enlarger donated to our club this semester, along with a few trays and odds and ends. We will need to purchase everything else on the smallest budget possible. (We can buy what we need, we just can't go nuts...)
I would really appreciate any help ya'll can provide in where to put benches, what to install where, etc.
Thank you, thank you, thank you!
** I should add, we will most likely be doing 35mm only, although given that I shoot MF, we may venture in that direction as well.
Bummer dude, you have to access the studio through the DR. Hmm..... I recon you could use a couple of tables or sturdy shelves in the DR along the length of the longer walls for enlargers and trays. You can use a large tub to give a quick rinse for prints, and wash them elsewhere. Changing bags to load daylight tanks for processing film. If you want to pay postage I have a Vivitar enlarger for you.
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I think I'd use the entire thing as a darkroom and build some sort of outside studio with overhangs and light reflective/absorptive movable walls. Why can the water be run through the wall to the sinks? Is it a drainage issue?
If I were in your situation.
Why not a pinhole project? Given your limitations, 4X5 pinhole contacts would be the way to go.
It's a crafts/construction project building the camera. It's a physics project determining pinhole size and "f-stops". It's chemistry project processing film and paper. And in the end, it's something of an art project.
Get people excited about it and watch your administration find ways to get you plumbing and electricity and safelights.
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I also vote for using the whole space as a darkroom. If you are at a school there should be many areas open for a quick studio setup such as a small gym or an auditorium, or even outside.
I limit enlargers to no more than 3 people working together, it just gets too crowded. If you plan on having a larger class you need to have the larger room setup with a few simple walled booths. More room is good, it's safer, more breathing room, more storage room, the feeling of being closed in a darkroom can be overwhelming to certain people if it's a tight space.
I don't have running water in my darkroom, seems that we used to, but it was disconnected permanently. The main sink is actually outside, not a big deal as its not hard to transport trays out since we only go up to 11x14. I use two water holding baths.
What are your class sizes and how many per week? Logistics is a very important consideration for photographic education. The lack of running water is a serious setback and I would suggest you try and address this as a number one priority.
“The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”
Wonderful problem to pose!
I am sure you will get plenty useful advice on arrangement so I'll focus on things that might not be obvious.
You can probably get water into the small room "washing machine" style. Have hose connections that you couple-up at the beginning of the day and unhook at the end. If the drain outside is low you can run a drain hose down and out. You might run a drain into a "dishwasher" drain downpipe but if you go down under the door with it you run risk of siphon "breaking" and will always have to be vigilant about the draining. Or "dishwasher" style, there is a way to connect rolling dishwashers to a faucet that includes both water infeed and drain in one snap-on connector. That would be really cool and you can probably find someone with an old rolling dishwasher to donate the parts.
Worst case you can always setup a rolling cart that has the wet stuff and roll it outside to wash prints/film. That's all you really need running water for anyway. Rest of the stuff can be carried back and forth.
You might hang a sheet of black plastic to create a walkway at the end of the long room to make a light-safe "baffle."
check out the massive thread on members darkrooms:
and its baby brother:
You really shouldn't have to buy much, if any, darkroom equipment. I have 2 pretty complete darkroom kits in my basement waiting for time and space. They cost a total of $90. I have been given a third complete, extensive, high-end darkroom that is several hundred miles away, just waiting for me to pick it up. All 3 of the original owners tried to donate them to schools but were refused.
Might as well set it up and use it and not hoard it. There is no better time than today. If not today, put it back onto craigslist or this forum, others may need such equipment you are not using, when the time comes, I'm sure you will be able to find another set.
Originally Posted by pbromaghin