As the bar to digital art is lowered once again with advent of AI, is it time to return to the darkroom ? To sober up and smell the scent of developer and fixer…
You can make a darkroom print pretty much anywhere you have space and can block out the light. Running water is important but not completely essential as a large container will do too.
Let’s rediscover why a darkroom print is still valid today. Feel free to comment at the end of this post.
- A darkroom print is unique, made by hand and very much tangible.
- A darkroom print can use different material and surfaces. For example antique papers or even your own substrates with liquid emulsion on glass, stone, paper or metal.
- Darkroom printing is an education. In terms of chemistry and the entire history of the photographic processes.
- Improves your mental health as it takes time and you get to tune out in your own dedicated space away from screens. In fact no screens can be using in a photographic darkroom.
- You are concentrating on making one image at a time. It provides a greater sense of achievement, especially when you’ve had a hand in each step of the journey.
- Chemical and physical processes that can’t be reproduced or compared to digital.
- Analog combinations come together with ease, for example pinhole, infrared film, Lith process, dodging and burning with your own hands.
- It’s a completely off grid experience. It’s private, it’s physical, it’s up close and personal. There are no ‘likes’, computers, digital, censorship or any kind snooping algorithms.
- Even AI can’t and never will be able to produce a darkroom print. It’s a purely human endeavour with all its imperfections included or promoted.
- In the end a darkroom print makes a wonderful gift while being a lot of fun and excitement to your life.