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  1. #11
    Nicole's Avatar
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    Murray, I can empathise. Every since I gave birth to my children I have never stopped feeling guilty and/or worried about anything and everything I do and what effect it may have on my children. Those feelings will be with me for the rest of our lives. Involve, understand, respect, love and enjoy.
    Kind regards, Nicole

  2. #12
    Jeremy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MurrayMinchin
    How old should a child be before they start dry mounting and cutting mats..?

    Murray
    good god, Murray, if you can get them to do that then you can start renting them out! I for one hate the task of framing
    Let's see what I've got in the magic trash can for Mateo!

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  3. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by MurrayMinchin
    How old should a child be before they start dry mounting and cutting mats..?

    Murray
    I did both for the first time when I was 9. My 5 year old daughter has tried cutting a mat but doesn't quite have the strength yet to really get through 4-ply board. Maybe when she's 6....

    She does do a great job cleaning glass when I'm framing.

    Back to the original topic, I haven't spent much time in a darkroom printing since before my daughter was born, but I had the same dilemma/feelings about going out to burn film and leaving my new family behind. The solution was simple and no different than what you have done: let them be involved. My daughter often accompanies me on walks around the yard looking for flowers and bugs to photograph. When she finds something, she gets to take the first frame, or two (one of these days, I'll teach her about focussing.....). She's sat in the bathroom/darkroom and helped me measure out chemicals and develop negs. She loves it, and I'm quite fond of it too.

    And, that because of her exposure to film she doesn't come running over after I take a picture asking if she can see it on the screen: priceless!
    "A friend will bail you out of jail.
    A TRUE friend will be beside you saying 'Damn! That was fun!'"


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  4. #14
    KenS's Avatar
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    Many moons ago, when my daughter was just over three, I had to babysit while my wife went out to visit a friend… but I also had about a dozen prints to make for a free-lance job that were to be picked up later in that evening. I took my daugher into the darkroom and sat her up on the bench near the developer tray and watch “the magic” as the images appeared.

    The next afternoon I arrived home at the front door… there was water, with a few mounds of soapsuds all over the front step, surrounding three large baking bowls. On entering the house I asked my wife about “the mess” out front. She took a big breath and told me that she had been invited next door for a cup of tea with the neighbour in the condominium unit next door, leaving my daughter to play out front with her toys.

    On returning to our house after about an half hour, she was greeted by the sight of my daughter, soaking wet, sitting on the front step surrounded by the aforementioned bowls, a mass of soapsuds, a variety of wax crayons, numerous sheets of sopping wet sheets of 8 1/2 X11 inch paper torn from a pad.

    She inquired as to what was “going on” and was offered the answer… as my daughter grabbed the pad, carefully chose the correct crayon, scribbled on the paper, separated the top sheet from the pad and deftly slopped the “new” sheet of paper through the three bowls of soapy water with more than just adequate agitation. She then turned her face to her mother and then, with a proud smile, declared

    “My making pictures…. just like daddy!”

    I really wished I had been there to get that on film.

    A year or so later she thoroughly enjoyed the responsibilities of pressing the exposure button and moving the prints from the first wash tray to the second.

    It has only been in the past year or so that she has started making photographs for herself.

    Ken

  5. #15
    Michel Hardy-Vallée's Avatar
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    My father has been doing photography for many years, since before I was born and still continues, so I just wanted to share the perspective from the point of view of the parented one.

    I can't really recall when my father started letting me in his darkroom, but I know I was below 8. At that time we lived in a house with enough empty space at the second floor for it to be used as a play room, and his darkroom was just besides. When friends came over we would always invent stories about how we could make explosions by mixing all the chemicals we saw on the shelves...

    For me the most fascinating part was the subdued atmosphere: the red light, the smell of chemicals, the intervals of light and darkness and the quiet work. I loved washing the prints in the large tray, and I could play for hours in the running water. All the funny equipement to wash, develop, mix, etc amused me to no end, and it was like playing the little mad scientist.

    The image aspect of the craft didn't appeal to me until a much later age; the term "adult" does not necessarily apply to touch subject matter, but rather to how relevant it is to someone at a specific age. For me photography is an "adult" art and you appreciate it more fully as an adult.

  6. #16

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    I remember as if it were yesterday, when my daughter stood on my foot and held my leg in the darkroom...

  7. #17

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    OMG, you guys are gonna make me cry. Such sweet stories. I can imagine the little girl soaking wet, with crayon in hand, making prints! wow.

    I have 3 kids, and I work full time. My 2 littlest ones are 2 and 4, and oldest is 13. I cannot get my oldest interested. She too, is bored in the darkroom.

    I do all my darkroom work at night when they are asleep. I also never seem to have enough time. I resign to the fact that my darkroom, also being a bathroom, washroom and laundry room, is very busy otherwise.
    I also get about 3 hours of sleep on the nights I decide to work, so it can be a bit of a sacrifice.

    I do feel guilty, as someone else mentioned, about going places to take photos. I don't get out to do this often since it means another whole day away from the family, and I'm unwilling to bring 2 toddlers and a bored teenager with me. I manage to take every other Friday off work and try to use it for photo outings. This has been a real great joy for me.

    By the way- my mother and I used to go shooting together and we worked in a darkroom together when I was about 13 or so. I feel this is a real great opportunity for bonding with your children. I have great memories of those days.

  8. #18

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    I hope to talk along from next year on, as my partner is expecting our first baby

    I hope to get her (or him, according to Elke) involved in photography. That will not be a problem anyway: the child will be a model from the day it sees the light.

    G

  9. #19
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    An update - the plan worked!

    When I got home from work, we went into the backyard for about an hour to romp around for a bit. Then I explained how you can put leaves, flowers and stuff on the paper instead of your hands and make a photogram that way. She picked clover and grass. Then we headed for the darkroom to set up. (He He He, I normally set up after dinner!)

    As she was moving her stuff around on the paper she said, "this is going to be a nice design"...(She's 3 1/2...Daddy is so proud!)..."it's a spider web trap".

    Partway through the exposure she started to move some of the flowers and leaves. I was going to stop her but then thought, what the heck - it's her design. It turned out really cool because the ones that got moved early came out as about print value II; very mysterious.

    After dinner and bath time I waltzed into the darkroom and hit the ground running, as everything was set to go. She's happy and I have no guilt. I like it!

    Murray

    P.S. This is probably bad...(please don't report me)...but a while back I let her get a good sniff of selenium toner diluted 1:10...now when I'm doing negatives, really deep into making masks or printing, all I have to say is that I'm going to be using "the stinky chemicals" and she steers well clear of the darkroom.

  10. #20
    SuzanneR's Avatar
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    I had a very similar experience the other night. I had to get some prints made, and my husband was out at a meeting for the evenng. Set the darkroom up just after dinner, and let them make some photograms. Then up to the bath and bed.

    About ten minutes later my six year-old came down to the darkroom... you know "I'm not tired"! I let him rock the trays, for about two prints. Then he looked pretty sleepy, so back up we went, and to sleep!! The photograpms are still wet, but I'll scan and post them here when they are dry. I'd love to see your daughter's, too!

    What's the going rate for six year-old photo assistants?

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