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  1. #1

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    Itinerant hobbyist seeks darkroom in Braunschweig

    I've been lurking and learning on these forums for years, but this is my first post.

    I think of myself as belonging to the last generation never to have gone digital: I took up photography in the late '90s. I'd been bewitched by my father's Spotmatic, which he'd let me use a few times. When I expressed an interest in taking up the hobby, he traded in the Spotmatic and all his beautiful Takumar lenses towards a Pentax KM for me and an MX for himself. That KM is still my workhorse camera. I shot much of two high-school yearbooks with it, using a flash that I'd jury-rigged to run off a 6V lantern battery, processing the negatives in the chemical stockroom and printing in the school darkroom. The standard-issue film was T-Max, and since I didn't know it was supposed to be hard to work with it mostly just worked (excepting one memorable occasion when I poured pure acetic acid into a 5-reel developing tank in lieu of stop bath, thus dissolving several weeks' worth of work). Along the way I discovered how good it was for my angsty teenage soul just to wander the neighbourhood actually looking at the world around me. It may not have led to any memorable pictures, but it helped teach me to see.

    I put the camera away when I went to university, and it wasn't until 2008, in graduate school, that I asked my parents to bring the KM along on one of their visits to me. Abetted by a supportive girlfriend, I'm now up to 4 cameras (the KM, a KX I bought as backup, my mother's Olympus 35 RC and my uncle's Yashica Mat-124G), and shoot a modest but steady 20-30 rolls/year. These days I shoot partly as an excuse to play with wonderful mechanical/optical contraptions, partly as an excuse to get out and explore the world around me, partly as a way of telling stories to my friends and family, and partly to point out the deliciously silly things that typically go overlooked.

    I've taken a few classes and been suitably awestruck by the sight of an 8x10 ground glass and amused by the simplicity of cyanotype. I've seen the glory of a 120 slide on a light table. I've passed the film bug on to my girlfriend, partly to find homes for good cameras I didn't have space for myself. I've been through the beginner's obsessive experimentation with different films and developers, mourned the loss (or at least diminished availability) of Astia, 800Z, Neopan 1600 and SS, and concluded that if there's anything I can't do with Provia, the remaining Neopans, and Mörsch EFD, then the fault lies in myself and not in the materials. I should probably apply the same sort of reasoning to cameras, but I'm still lusting after a Spotmatic II and some Super-Takumars (though they wouldn't do anything my KM and SMC-Ms don't), another MF camera (RB67 or TLR, most likely, as I love the sight of a ground glass), and a 4x5 (someday when I have more money, time, and space).

    As a roving academic researcher, I typically change cities and countries every couple of years. This means that:
    1. Most of the people with whom I want to share images are far away, so most of my output is scanned and uploaded to www.flickr.com/photos/idleroux/
    2. If I'm to connect with like-minded photographers, I have to do it fairly quickly, since I only have a little while to enjoy their company before changing cities again.
    3. Any wet printing I do for my own pleasure has to happen in community darkrooms. I can fit a developing tank in my suitcase when I move to a new job, but an enlarger is out of the question.

    Which leads me to the question in the thread title: after a couple of years in Denmark I'll be moving to Braunschweig, Germany in a few months and don't (yet) speak the language. I'm hoping someone can tell me where to find a darkroom, or some like-minded photographers.

    --IDL

  2. #2
    AgX
    AgX is offline

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    Welcome to Apug!

    Well, Ican't provide you with a darkroom in Braunschweig, but I can tell your there actually have been produced types of enlarger-in-the-suitcase...

  3. #3
    Molli's Avatar
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    Welcome, idleroux. Like you, I loitered for a number of years before finally piping up on the message boards. That's a great introduction you've made there.
    If you ever find yourself transferred to Australia, there's a darkroom here you'd be welcome to make use of - however, I know there are dozens of dedicated home darkrooms in the area here that are far better equipped!
    Best of luck finding somewhere local to you in Germany. I'm sure there must be someone on APUG who can give you some idea of what's available in the area.

  4. #4

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    Hello and a warm welcome to APUG.

    Jeff

  5. #5
    TheMissingLink's Avatar
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    Hi IDL,

    welcome.

    It looks we will become nearly neighbours ;-) living a few (60 or so) km north of Braunschweig.

    Try to ask your question about sharin a darkroom at these sites:

    http://www.aphog.de/

    and

    http://www.vfdkv.de/

    They probably will try to help.


    hth

    Horst
    everything becomes more worse. one thing becomes better: the moral becomes more worse.

  6. #6
    fotch's Avatar
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    Hello and welcome to APUG.
    Items for sale or trade at www.Camera35.com

  7. #7
    David Allen's Avatar
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    I am not familiar with Braunschweig but I do know that there is a small specialist company selling analogue photo products based there.

    Try contacting them as they must have a very good overview of the analogue scene in their city.

    www.spuer-sinn.net

  8. #8

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    Aug 2011
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    I thank you all for your warm welcome and for your suggestions. A suitcase enlarger sounds like an awesome widget to own, but for now I think I'll see what the folks at spürsinn have to say, and work up the courage to say something on the German-language fora.

    Darkroom or no, I look forward to hanging out here more. Right after I catch up with my backlog of unprocessed film ...

    -- IDL



 

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