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Thread: Darkroom Paint

  1. #1
    ChrisW's Avatar
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    Darkroom Paint

    I am about to expand my darkroom and was wondering if there is a benefit to painting the walls and ceiling black. Also, should I use a black counter tops as well? I have been printing in a white painted darkroom for four years, but have no way of knowing of its effect on the image.

    Chris

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    Monophoto's Avatar
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    Chris -

    The subject of darkroom wall color has been debated many times. The key point is that a darkroom is dark because there are no active light sources in it. I prefer white walls because they reflect and even out the light from the safelights, making it possible for me to actually see to get work done.

    In general, I think you want to try to manage any spurious light sources in the darkroom - leaks from the enlarger, etc. Part of that management may include painting the walls behind the enlarger a flat black. I chose to make the ceiling over the enlarger white and to point a safelight toward that ceiling to provide general illuimination around the enlarging station.

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    jovo's Avatar
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    I agree that the walls can and should remain light. The area around the enlarger can be 'papered' with large sheets of black construction paper which has a very matte surface and reflects nothing. You retain a degree of flexibility that way as well if you should move your enlarger.
    John Voss

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    Wally H's Avatar
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    I use a matt black paint around the enlarger station(s), walls & ceiling. The rest of the darkroom neutral white (gloss for ease of cleaning).
    Regards,

    Wally

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    metod's Avatar
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    I painted the area around the enlarger flat black. Honestly, I can’t confirm that this has a positive effect on printing. But it gives me that insurance, that there is no light bouncing around. I even when a step further and made cardboard box to cover the enlarger head to eliminate the leaks coming mainly from the negative carrier. I use this box only at the final printing stage; otherwise it would get pretty hot in there.

    As an alternative to painting, I used to pin up the cheap black fabric around the enlarger, which is easy to take down if needed.

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    raucousimages's Avatar
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    My darkroom is white with the wall behind the enlarger black. in gang darkrooms (schools,art centers...) walls may be flat black to absorb stray light if someone opens a door, enlarger Etc. This helps keep everyones paper from being damaged if it is open at the time. Personally I think black rooms are claustrophobic and depressing. I can't stay in them long but I can work for hours in a well lit darkroom.
    DIGITAL IS FOR THOSE AFRAID OF THE DARK.

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    BWGirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisW
    I am about to expand my darkroom and was wondering if there is a benefit to painting the walls and ceiling black. Also, should I use a black counter tops as well? I have been printing in a white painted darkroom for four years, but have no way of knowing of its effect on the image.

    Chris
    Chris... do you like how your prints come out??? If you do, then you must know that the wall color can be whatever you like.

    Mine's a white matte paint to reduce any chance of reflection. I've never had any problem with the light walls.
    Jeanette
    .................................................. ................
    Isaiah 25:1

  8. #8
    ChrisW's Avatar
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    I would prefer to keep the walls and ceiling white, as I have designed lightproof sliding window doors to allow outside light. The light leaks on the enlarger have been covered, but the reflection from the print itself is evident on the ceiling. It's not much, but my larger exposures can take up to 2 minutes.

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    joneil's Avatar
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    You know the old saying "if it ain't broke, don't fix it"?


    If you like your white walls, and it works for you, leave them alone. Personally I prefer flat black on everything myself - I find the darkness comforting - it's almost Zen like atmosphere in my darkroom, and helps me concentrate on the image at hand. But do what works for you.

    joe

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    Hahaha, I just painted my darkroom all black even the floor. Funny har.

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