10 reasons to make darkroom prints in 2023

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.

  1. A darkroom print is unique, made by hand and very much tangible.
  2. 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.
  3. Darkroom printing is an education. In terms of chemistry and the entire history of the photographic processes.
    Ilford Plastika Print
    Ilford Plastika Print
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
    UV LED Box - Selection of prints A4, A2, Tea Toned, Square Size, etc..
    UV LED Box – Selection of prints A4, A2, Tea Toned, Square Size, etc..
  6. Chemical and physical processes that can’t be reproduced or compared to digital.
    Chemicals for Gevaert G.262 Warm Tone Developeer
    Chemicals for Gevaert G.262 Warm Tone Developeer
  7. Analog combinations come together with ease, for example pinhole, infrared film, Lith process, dodging and burning with your own hands.
    Out of the underpass - Bromaton Lith
    Out of the underpass – Bromaton Lith
     
  8. 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.
    Durst 606 in the darkroom
    Durst 606 in the darkroom
  9. 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.
    Halseralm Qink! on Cyantype
    Halseralm Qink! on Cyantype
  10. In the end a darkroom print makes a wonderful gift while being a lot of fun and excitement to your life.
Traditonal Darkroom Print 30x40cm
Traditonal Darkroom Print 30x40cm

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