Analogue darkroom, anyone?


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e905591s

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Hi all,

In the world of digital everything, I wonder how many people here are still working in traditional wet darkroom as a hobby. It was my dream to have my own darkroom one day since secondary school days. I am close to realise this dream, but I do ask myself sometimes whether having a darkroom is the right thing to do. Printing in the darkroom seems to be a "sunset" activity nowadays, and probably will become some obscure black art pretty soon ? This is judging from my experience in acquiring used darkroom stuff, where more often than not, the owner is just trying to get rid of the stuff at very low cost. When asked why, the answer is often "I've gone digital". I guess that sums it all.

I have a humble request. Anyone here still having fun in their darkroom, can you please share with us your experience, your stories and maybe some technical details like layout of your darkroom, costs involved and so on. Maybe a picture or two of your darkroom would be wonderful. I would be very interested to see how one can accomodate a darkroom in a HDB flat.

Lastly, I really appreciate the creation of a section of clubsnap dedicated to traditional darkroom and hope it would be a more active forum. Btw, analogue darkroom sounds weird to me, maybe this is a digital world and we always tend to categorise things in a very polar way. Sorry for the long rambling.


e905591s
 

YSLee

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Shouldn't it be film or wet darkroom?
 

emollientcolt

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Plans to setup a dark room might be costly. don't really see members WTS darkroom items recently. (maybe i am blind) :cool:

but i plan to setup my darkroom step by step........ plannins to setup my dark room in my bomb shelter but then still scretching head on how to setup the water imput and output onto the darkroom......
Maybe my toilet can be transformed onto a dark room.....
:D
Plan to develop my first roll of mono negs first.
 

leewt214

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I have been thinking of setting up my own darkroom. After do mine developing for a while, i guess it's only logical that one would want to move on to doing yor own printing. However, looking at the startup cost of setting up a darkroom, it makes me wonder whether it's worth the money. After all, how often do you print? I hardly have time to shoot nowadays, let alone develop and print. There are commercial darkrooms for rent( Eg OBjectif, SAFRA), from what i heard, they are pretty well equipped and the rent varies from $12 per hr at objectif and $3 for ? in Safra. At this kind of rates, it really makes me think twice abt setting up mine own darkroom.
 

igpenguin

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If you are close to realising the dark room, just go for it then. If you find that you don't enjoy the process, I suppose you can do what the sellers you met have been doing - sell due to lack of use.

I agree with the previous poster that renting facilities could be economical. If you don't mind traveling times, well-kept facilities can also be quite conducive for your work.
 

StreetShooter

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I remember this old saying that the two happiest times in a boat owner's life are when he first buys the boat, and when he manages to finally sell it off.

Donno why I suddenly thought of that.
 

e905591s

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StreetShooter, I think you forget to flip the light switch before you took the picture.... and camera was in no-flash mode ? :)

As for the cost of setting up a simple darkroom, I think it's very reasonable compared to last time(10 years back, perhaps ?) when you are buying the secondhand stuff from people who has retired, left the trade/hobby, lost interest and so on. My investment of about $300 so far has landed me with a pro-grade colour enlarger+lens and other bits and pieces that will just enable me to kick start into printing my own picture.

Renting facilities is definately a possibility for many. But the cost will add up soon, not to mention the hassle to book and to travel to the facilities. And the possibility of just going into my own darkroom to make a print or two after a hectic day of work seems like a very nice form of relaxation to me.

emollientcolt, I face the same water problem like you. I have only this small space of less than 2x1.5m to work on, without running water and thus I am planning to just develop, stop and fix the print before bringing out to nearby toilet to wash.

e905591s
 

emollientcolt

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e905591s said:
emollientcolt, I face the same water problem like you. I have only this small space of less than 2x1.5m to work on, without running water and thus I am planning to just develop, stop and fix the print before bringing out to nearby toilet to wash.

e905591s

Hi e905591s, thanks for the recommendations. perhaps i need to do just that too. i think it'll work fine for low volume printers like me.

Cheers
:D
 

akane

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Other than the one in SAFRA Bukit Merah, does anyone knows any other darkrooms in Singapore?
 

waikhong

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akane said:
Other than the one in SAFRA Bukit Merah, does anyone knows any other darkrooms in Singapore?
Maybe you can check it out at PSS and Boon Lay CC
 

akane

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PSS? Where's that?
 

capa

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Hi, I must say working in darkroom and perfecting a print is one thing I truely enjoy. Almost like meditation, working in the dark. To quote a great photographer/printer, when one prints he's "not just taking photograph, but making photograph".

I am in IT industry for more than 10 years and face computer everyday. Getting my hands wet in the darkroom is a welcome break. I sometimes pity those who get sucked into working more with computer because of digital camera. I do not think digital medium is bad. Art does not care about its medium. It's just that people are spending too much time using computer for almost every other thing.

I have setup a darkroom at home. It does not have to be expensive but you have to be patient when sourcing for your equipments. Look at this site, around town and even ebay. As for water source, you do not need any plumbing done. Just get a bucket of water and dip your fixed prints in it. Change water frequently. One thing I know many of us ignore, ventilation. It's not easy to setup fans and they are very expensive. So instead, take frequent break during water changing. And try to work in an air-cond room if possible.

Please note your water bill will go up if you setup a darkroom at home, especially if you're doing fiber.

Anyway, my advice for newbies is to rent darkroom first. Get to understand what it is about making prints and what's required. If you like it, then perhaps you can consider setting up one yourself.
 

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