[QUOTE=donbga]You are far to optimistic Roger, it takes more than just a few days to build a REALLY GOOD darkroom.[QUOTE]
That's why I said 'working space', not 'darkroom'. Sorry if I sound legalistic with that but what I meant was that in an astonishingly short time you can have a light-tight room that allows you to do a great deal without technical problems but possibly with some issues of comfort and convenience. Comfort and convenience come later -- possibly not a bad idea, because your ideas of what you need will evolve as you work with your temporary set-up.
My comparison was with some of the temporary (and even not-so-temporary) darkrooms I have used over the last 40 years. Next to those, you can indeed set up something REALLY GOOD in a few days.
Actually, setting up my current darkroom took about a week, and that included flooring (concrete slabs, then tiled, to replace stamped earth); lining the walls and ceiling with plastic tongue-and-groove; wiring; running in plumbing and drainage (the latter very easy, discharging into a gutter which in turn runs into a drain); installing a De Ville sink. Admittedly I had a builder working on it more or less full time with me as assistant.
I agree with Don. Go for the biggest sink you can and plan out the entire space. Make sure to look at the darkroom portraits posted here.
As for my space, I have a 6 foot sink that will hold four 12x15 trays. For now this will work.
The first darkroom I ever worked in was a 4x6 foot closet with a pass-through to a deep sink. Half of the six darkrooms I've improvised over the past 40 years didn't have running water. Instead, they had walking water. I walked in with jugs of water, and walked out with pails of waste. That didn't limit the quality of the prints. Professionals must be efficient to be competative, and need better darkrooms. Us amateurs don't.
So long as you can get a light tight room, you can have a darkroom. I made the first prints in mine a few weeks ago after a year or so of occasional weekend work converting my roof space.
I have not yet plumbed in the water or the waste to the sink but use the carry a bucket in and out system as mentioned above (up and down a ladder in this case!).
I have some spare time at the end of this month so I think I will get the plumbing finished then.
What about the availability of color materials?
RA-4 chemicals and paper...
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I never drank the Vanilla Coke when it came out... I knew it would be gone sooner or later... why suffer?
Come on, don't be silly. I print in a tiny bathroom. People on here do more and better work than I do in closets. If you have room and means, get a darkroom. Enjoy it. My money is on the paper and chems outliving you and I - but even if that is not the case, I don't see the point of this "why eat, it will all be shit by tomorrow" attitude. Its not like a darkroom will cost you a kidney or your firstborn. Its not an investment, its an expenditure. You will not get your money back.
This thread is kind of pointless, quite frankly. Product availability is a constantly discussed issue on this site - there is a dedicated forum dealing with it - what answer exactly are you looking for? You either want a darkroom - in which case you will build one no matter what is said here, or you do not want one badly enough - and you won't build it. This kind of reminds me of all those brilliant people who are contestants on "The Price is Right", mouths agape, eyes darting from one person in the audience to another - only a bit worse, because the right answer is yours and ONLY yours to know for sure. Or do you want a guarantee? If so, for how long? From whom? At this point, making real photographs is a matter of desire and preference. If you don't want to do it badly enough, you will just end up with a digital camera sooner or later and polute the net with your bad experiences in the darkroom. If you want to do this, you will not even entertain the option.
Do you ask people what food you like?
Last edited by gnashings; 06-17-2006 at 02:23 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Reason: original wording too harsh
I am in salt lake PM me and let's talk. I have built several darkrooms (12 or so) for the US Navy, U of U, myself and a bunch of photographers. The question is not, darkroom or no darkroom. But where, when and how to build a darkroom. If you have the chance to buy the space now and build later, go for it. At least you will have the option later.
DIGITAL IS FOR THOSE AFRAID OF THE DARK.
My suggestion is to carry on with your traditional efforts if in fact that is your passion for as long as possible. My plan is to continue until I am unable or the materials are no longer available. In the mean time I refuse to expend any energy worrying about it. Whatever you decide is right for you is fine but go at with passion and make wonderful pictures.
If you put in a small darkroom you will soon wish that you had gone larger, just like photography always moving up until one day you realize what size fits you. Unlike film size though it's a bit harder to make the darkroom in the house larger after the fact. Only you can say if you need a darkroom. Without it what can you do? Use a lab, that's restrictive. If you are going to do B&W then a home darkroom is a must. These are the hard decisions. As for materials and supplies read the posts and check out the formats you are interested in. No one can reassure you that everything will be available for years to come but for the committed, not institutional, a few years is better than nothing at all. My guess is the run out is going to be longer rather than shorter.
Don't worry about the effect on long term resale either. Any space that is a good dedicated darkroom will appeal to many hobbyists, who have other hobbies where they need countertop electrical outlets, running water, stable work surfaces, and good ventilation. I've had wood workers tell me mine would suit them pretty well, and having spent significant chunks of my youth making models I can assure you it would be good for that too if I just stow the enlargers and switch out the safelights.