Quote Originally Posted by Bob Carnie View Post
I want to support Harmons pledge to DEFEND THE DARKROOM , its their rally cry and it should be every single person that uses their product, but unfortunately printers like me are in our mid to late 50's and beyond and the printers of the past are well beyond operating and looking to graze. The lab business for silver gelatin is drying up, if you don't believe me ask the owners of the labs left what they think
of this side of their operations
Operating a darkroom to print for others in a large city is now impossible , unless one is lucky to have a stable of clients and like Elevator a framing and photography shop to help pay the bills.
The rent is crazy, Our schools are seeing the trend to digital and at this moment most photo schools in Ontario Canada are darkroom free or soon to be so.
How in the hell would it be a good economic decision for some young printer here on APUG to decide like I did 25 years ago to start a silver printing lab. Currently it would be economic suicide.

APUG is the last real site dedicated to darkroom work that I am aware of and currently participating , and it is why I am still on this site, granted I only have two forums open, which is film developing and printing forums. I have clicked off all the other catagories to lesson the noise. DPUG does not have the same dedicated darkroom workers on it so there is a void right now with APUG and DPUG that is ignoring the obvious .

Mixing some digital with Analogue is the only way to make the darkrooms survive... Now before all you with your home darkrooms jump on me and crush me, please realize that we are a very small group, and if you did a poll on actual consumption of paper , we would come to the conclusion that our voting dollars do not cut the grade for the big manufacturers.
By interesting young students at even the high school level that a simple contact setup that can work in a laundry room, wonderful archival prints can be made using the materials that we all here cherish.
These young students , already understand curves, density, contrast but in a different way - Digital Capture and Lightroom_
Learning a simple printing method ( like the MAS azo crowd) is a very simple thing that any school of any size could accomodate, they already have the image capture devices, they already have the ink printers that can make negatives.

People like Harmon, Me- You , APUG DPUG Large Format Forum, all we need to do is show how to make wet process contact prints... how easy is that.

You open the doors to thousands and more devotees to a wet process, using the same paper and chemistry's you all salivate over.
Harmon, Kodak, Ekfe, Rollie, Maco, Adox, all have to look at the market and decide whether they feel this is good for them to continue their coating alleys. At the rate we are going now I doubt there will be any commercial coated paper left available at a rate most of us can pay in 10 years.
As I see it there will come a day that I will need to make the single biggest purchase of material that I have ever been involed in, so I can continue with my printing.

So what can be done to DEFEND THE DARKROOM - I suggest that all the serious workers here, and I know a bunch of you, should petition Sean and John to solve this obvious problem, do not let the posers on this site who spend all day posting silly nonsense just to get post counts drag us down.
I think DPUG should be brought back into this SITE , we all bless Sean to do this so as a group we can explore the wonderful options of a hybrid workflow and actually get more people to fall in love with the emerging print...... Be honest now , I am only talking to a certain few here, watching the emerging image in soft light is the most wonderful sight imaginable( short of a birth I guess) .
The rate things are going we will only be able to see this is if we coat our own emulsions, and actually I am hedging my bets by learning everything I can about alt processes so I can watch and image come up for the rest of my life.

DEFEND THE DARKROOM NOW,
Yep...it really does come down to carrying the torch because burying all of our heads deep in the sand until all of this (APUG) becomes largely irrelevant and a tiny fringe, is not the answer to the much bigger picture (pun intended). The only way an appreciation for the analog print and the process can be brought to the younger masses is indeed by marrying to digital. I also believe that film has a better chance of survival by doing that because once the darkroom becomes a more viable environment from a business standpoint, there will be a larger and more motivated audience for film as well. The status quo is by far a downhill one so why beat around the bushes? All of us here (and there aren't many) will never be able to save film just by buying a few rolls and certainly there isn't enough of anything to keep labs alive, or even remotely motivate a young entrepreneur to start one. So, will APUG simply stay on as the comfy couch for the few romantics who still believe film and paper will be around forever, or be proactive in promoting ways that actually move the art into the 21st century by educating, providing a learning platform, and a new appreciation for the analog print for the the next generation?