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  1. #1
    jp498's Avatar
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    children in the darkroom

    My 5yo has been "helping" in the darkroom for about two years now. Only allowed in when I'm in there. If I'm in there, she has to knock and ask before entering (and otherwise ruining what I'm working on), and must not touch any chemicals or trays except for the wash tray.

    Seeing images come out on paper isn't so magical to kids these days who expect instant miracles of digital imaging. While not fussy, she actually prefers to help when I'm doing film as the lights are on and there's no prints taking up space in the wash. It's a fun place to play with water.

    She is completely enthralled with the bright colors of the prewash. In goes clear water, out comes purple, blue, or green water! She'll play in a 16x20 tray with water for a long time. And seeing the gralab clock go backwards is pretty special.

    Here's a 45ish second clip of her "ABC Winter Wipeout" course setup in the 16x20 wash tray. It's the night time part of the show, since the water is dark (with TMY2 prewash).

    You'll notice quite a few film developing items not being used for their intended purposes.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KUkhhHR6Xfk

    Parents; what do your kids like in the darkroom?

  2. #2

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    As someone who had his first soldering iron at 7 years old and built his first kit radio, I am so glad your girl is getting her opportunity to "feel" science before she is taught. You might be starting in her something you've never imagined or intended. I'm so sad, that these days, most kids are shielded from these early and potentially very inspiring experiences.
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

  3. #3
    Rick A's Avatar
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    My (now 13yo) daughter is a seasoned pro in the darkroom, as well as an accomplished photographer. The only thing she doesn't do is load film reels, she does, however, is load 4x5 film holders for herself, and unload them for taco style processing. She's been in the DR all her life and has learned the same way yours is jp498. Dont think for one moment she isn't learning just by being in there with you. Keep her going, her attention span will grow rapidly because of you allowing her play time.
    Rick A
    Argentum aevum

  4. #4
    Marco B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jp498 View Post
    Here's a 45ish second clip of her "ABC Winter Wipeout" course setup in the 16x20 wash tray. It's the night time part of the show, since the water is dark (with TMY2 prewash).

    You'll notice quite a few film developing items not being used for their intended purposes.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KUkhhHR6Xfk

    Parents; what do your kids like in the darkroom?
    Fun to watch, thanks for sharing.

    You may wish to rethink though having her play with your CombiPlan 4x5 tanks filmholder clip, the one that keeps the sheets in the "reel" when you turn the tank upside down.

    I recently accidentally crushed mine by stepping on it while it had fallen onto the ground...

    At 150 Euro for a new tank (still need to find a solution), breaking this small and fragile, but vital, item can be a costly accident waiting to happen
    My website

    "The nineteenth century began by believing that what was reasonable was true, and it wound up by believing that what it saw a photograph of, was true." - William M. Ivins Jr.

    "I don't know, maybe we should disinvent color, and we could just shoot Black & White." - David Burnett in 1978

    "Analog is chemistry + physics, digital is physics + math, which ones did you like most?"

  5. #5
    SuzanneR's Avatar
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    Mine used to come in to rock the trays at times, and once both sat patiently while I tray processed to sheets of 8x10 film that I had exposed moments before (of them). These days, though, I can't seem to get them interested in it. Then again, I haven't really tried to get them to come in there for awhile, and I tend to do my printing when they are at school. They are old enough to learn, I will say, maybe it's time to get them each a good quality film camera!!

  6. #6
    Rick A's Avatar
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    SuzanneR, my daughter is allowed to use any of my cameras, and has adopted one of my 4x5's for her own. I have given her a Pentax 35mm p&s, but she insists on using my OM-1, or Mamiya C-220. No way will I ever stop her from using my cameras. I even bought an OM-77af, she considers herself way beyond automatic anything, so my wife uses that one. Give them an entry level camera, load it with any film, and let them loose on the world. When the film is developed, get excited over the results with them, and get them hooked.
    Rick A
    Argentum aevum

  7. #7

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    My kids are 8 and 6, and just last week for the first time saw a print develop from "magic water" (what they call it) before their eyes. They just about fainted.

    :-)

  8. #8
    Katie's Avatar
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    How fun. I hope to involve my 9 year old son when my darkroom is finally built. I have given him an old Canon Rebel 35mm camera and he LOVES to take pictures with it. He prefers it over any old dumb P&S digital (which seem to be everywhere these days).

  9. #9

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    I'm a little kid in a darkroom!

    Jeff

  10. #10

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    My dad put a darkroom in the basement when I was about six or seven, and I had some of the best times of my whole childhood hanging out in there. I remember thinking the safelight and the glow-in-the-dark timer were particularly cool, as well as the smell of fixer and seeing the image come up in the developing tray. Darkrooms and kids are a natural combination, I think.

    -NT
    Nathan Tenny
    San Diego, CA, USA

    The lady of the house has to be a pretty swell sort of person to put up with the annoyance of a photographer.
    -The Little Technical Library, _Developing, Printing, And Enlarging_

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