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  1. #1
    aleksmiesak's Avatar
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    DR set up brainstorming

    Hi all!

    I am a new, and very happy tenant at an old school building that had the classrooms converted into art studios. I got lucky and ended up with a large classroom (22'x30') with a spare storage room and easy access to running water. Ideally the spare room would have been my darkroom. As you can see the room already has plenty of counter space and cabinets for storage, only one large window made of brick glass (I think that's what those are called) and an opening in that window that would be perfect for ventilation. However my running water is outside of this room with no real good way to change that.

    Additionally it appears that the classroom at some point in the past actually comprised of two separate rooms: the main room (gallery) and a 6'x30' room along the window side of the room that also included a sink. My original plan was to build that wall back up and create a darkroom that would be about 30ft long and 7ft wide. The rest of the classroom would be dedicated to gallery/display space even though I am not ready yet to even consider showing anything since the darkroom is a priority. It's still something of value and interest down the road. The spare room in this plan would just remain as storage and dry prep area or alt contact printing area with UV light box. I like this plan because it would provide a large DR space that I can eventually grow into as I accumulate enlargers and could potentially be used in the future for demos or workshops and still have room to move. Also, it eliminates the very bright windows for the gallery space which is good and bad.

    However, as I have been doing some research it appears that a lot of darkrooms do just fine without running water. So I'm tempted to abandon my original plan of building a wall due to the effort (wall, doors, light proofing windows) that would require as well as cost and focus on making the storage room into a DR. This would speed things up for a me a little, eliminate construction and give a little more room for display. I would have to figure out a way to hide the sink and that not-so-pretty corner and find a way to cover some of these windows but these are minor items.

    So mainly I am interested in some opinions and tips you might have on how to make the best use of this space. Should I do the leg work up front and do it right with the walls and plumbing in place or should I just follow the easy path and just get something in place to get me going? I am pretty eager to start printing and I've been thinking I can keep myself occupied doing some alt contact printing methods that don't require a darkroom while the wall is being built. So it's just a matter of picking a plan and sticking with it. Obviously changes could be made down the road. But I don't want to double my efforts if I don't have to.

    Thanks for all of your help and advice!
    Aleks
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails photo (1).JPG   photo (2).JPG   photo (3).JPG   photo (4).JPG  

  2. #2

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    I myself would recommend you go for running water in the Darkroom, setup and washing and cleanup are so much easier and this for me justifies the extra effort up front. Later, you will bless yourself for doing it.

  3. #3

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    I am one of the proud owner of a darkroom without running water. I have ready access to my bathroom sink few steps out of the door and archival wash is done in garage.

    My setup is completely workable for my personal, private, and infrequent use. The time it takes to take my print to garage for washing after each printing doesn't bother me. It also takes a while to wash everything and clean up but since this is my hobby, efficiency isn't one of my concerns.

    I would hate to do darkroom work in any type of commercial capacity like this though. Is this going to be a money making venture or are you just very lucky to be able to rent a space like this for your personal enjoyment? If it is at all possible, I would definitely suggest exploring setting up a usable sink with full plumbing. It's called WET PROCESS for a very good reason....

    If not done right away, how about plan your room around having a "wet bar" as a next phase?
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

  4. #4
    aleksmiesak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tkamiya View Post
    Is this going to be a money making venture or are you just very lucky to be able to rent a space like this for your personal enjoyment? If it is at all possible, I would definitely suggest exploring setting up a usable sink with full plumbing. It's called WET PROCESS for a very good reason....

    If not done right away, how about plan your room around having a "wet bar" as a next phase?
    Right, that's probably something I should have elaborated on. My goal was never to find a space for commercial use. I really could care less if I sell a single print. I just want a place to do my photography and get away from it all (as I'm sure we all do). I just got lucky that this space popped up and was well within my budget. My minimum requirements were plumbing and ventilation. The gallery space and lighting was a pleasant surprise. So I said, why not. And there is no pressure or expectation of making it into a career. I like my current job and will be keeping it for a while since it sponsors my hobby and gear addiction.

    And yes, I have considered proceeding in phases and it's still a valid option. It's just a matter of whether I want to take my time and get it done right the first time or take smaller steps and some temporary inconvenience. The sink is really not that far away (you can see the door to the side room way on the right in one of the photos) and carrying trays or getting a cart with wheels is not a big deal.

    I really appreciate the input so far



 

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