Yep, that's where the magic happens.
And surprisingly it is the most well kept place in my home and the pictures actually make it look much more cluttered than it is.
People have commented on the seemingly sterile laboratory environment, because they have never seen the elaborate spaces that more professional darkroom magicians keep and probably imagine every darkroom to be a converted closet space or bathroom.
Actually, it changed face many times through the years and it did begin looking worse than a makeshift lab by a war photographer during Vietnam.
As for the comment "most well equipped" it is more of a statement of affairs in this country than a brag, but I am a bit proud for my little magic place, it is true. I put the warning signs all over to inspire me to act in discipline, but I can't help not dancing around while printing.
That door though is useless and apart from the humidity trouble, I have never been able to make it completely light tight for more than a bit.
The only upgrades I could really use would be the paper safe box I am getting and a better print washer, even though the system right now is very adequate for RC prints up to 30x40cm.
Real photographs, created in camera, 100% organic,
no digital additives and shit
I've started this thread 4 1/2 years ago (and I'm very glad I did). Since then we moved to France. After prospecting for a year, we've bought a 2 century old farmbuilding right in the middle of the Livradois-Forez national parc. So, now we live at a 1000 m, overlooking the whole chain of (extinct) volcanoes in the French Auvergne region. It's a landscape photographers paradise. After 25 years of working and living in big cities, I'm back in a small rural village with friendly helpfull people, and a healthy environment for my children. We have been very happy since we moved here, even while earning less than half the money I got in my old job. But . . . one thing has been missing.
Since our move I haven't had a darkroom. 120 and 4x5 films have been stocking up waiting for development and printing. Sure, with friends I created a public darkroom at the campus of the Clermont-Ferrand University. But that's a one hour drive back and forth. So, I have been longing for my own darkroom, to work and to teach in. A few months ago I started converting an old granite stone barn into a teaching darkroom. Is anybody interested in following this process online here, giving suggestions going along? Or should I start a new thread here? Or a blog elsewhere?
Last edited by argentic; 08-02-2009 at 05:22 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Originally Posted by argentic
If you are going to cover the whole thing in installments, maybe a new thread.
I, too, am about to start from scratch on a new darkroom - having also recently moved. My plan is to do a blog and document the thing from start to first "darkness"...
Once that's started, I'll announce the blog here.
with more than 166.000 views, this thread seems to be the best place for it.
My 2 €cents.
Release, the best you can do...
My new darkroom
I'd like to share photos of my new darkroom.
I also want to ask whether I should increase the breadth of the black matte paint behind the enlarger. I've followed Ansel's recommendations. His book recommends light walls and black matte paint behind the enlarger to prevent reflection from the walls. I wouldn't say I have an overabundance of light, with only 4 individual safelights. I considered adding some blinders on either side of the enlarger but there is a door just to the left of the enlarger so I don't have space around the enlarger on that side even if blinders would have helped. However, in looking at possibilities, I couldn't see a discernible drop off in the amount of light hitting the baseboard anyway.
I've put the enlarger where it is (that is, not further away from the sink and not directly opposite it, as Ansel suggests) because the floor, which is uncomfortably uneven, is most level where I've put the enlarger. The workbench is attached to the wall, but sitting at a slant can drive one crazy. It was a decision based on the frequency of making contact prints at long exposures.
I hung the plastic clothes storage bag to keep film from getting too dusty while drying (based on recommendations from this site). I squeegee it first and it seems to dry fairly quickly.
I have nice computing and matting space on the opposite side of the wall.
I welcome any suggestions for improvements of the darkroom.
The room is about 7' x 11'. I bought the used 7' long Leedal/Calumet sink from Craig's list. We moved the washer & dryer out of the space, and with a contractor's help built a wall and door to separate it from the computing/workroom.
The overall space is a 1927 single garage which was sliding down a hill at some time in the past. A year ago we replaced the door with one I hoped to be light- and dust-tight. We almost got there. I've added some black plastic where there was a chance of some light leaks. Also a photographer told me once that if you tape a black plastic bag to the wall it will attract dust; then all you have to do is wipe it down, so I figured these plastic strips can work as dust magnets as well. We put a small air conditioner in the adjacent room for cooling and positive pressure, a Doran 12x12 louver in the separating wall (with a filter) so I'm not sure there is a lot of draw from 12x12 Doran ventilating fan. (I tried blowing bubbles--a test I'd heard about once--and wasn't impressed.) Still, I plan to open the door often. We'll see how much dust that brings in. Live and learn.
I'm excited to get started.
(This is my first time posting images. I hope they follow after all this build-up.)
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My new modest darkroom, on its maiden run…
My new modest darkroom, on its maiden run…
On the left a nova print pod under a ventilation unit, next to it rinse water, since I do not have running water and therefore refresh the water from time to time. The prints are washed in the kitchen. The enlarger on the right, although with a colour head is used to print exclusively black and white. Out of the picture on the right is the rest of my work surface. Behind is a storage cupboard which is fully light tight for loading spirals for negative development, as the rest of the room is dark enough for printing but certainly not enough to load spirals!
Contrastique, I think the black around the enlarger is to kill white light spilling from the enlarger and having an effect on the light sensitive paper while your exposing for a print.
At least that is what I thought.
You have a really nice darkroom, thanks for sharing.
Thanx! I enjoy it immensely!
Originally Posted by fotch
You're right about that, but I tested it also with the enlarger on while protecting the paper from direct exposure with the red filter, if I remember correctly. I'll try it again just to see if my memory isn't a little flaky
The enlargers are opposite the raised sink? How high is the ceiling?
Originally Posted by Contrastique