It is not every day that you hear about new darkroom facilities being built at Universities (or anywhere else), in fact it is quite the opposite, with many being shut down for lack of use or poor conditions. But that may start to change, or at least it is at Deakin University where Film’s recent comeback (of sorts) has inspired the construction of brand-new darkroom facilities for their photography students.
Deakin University’s Darkroom Studies unit is one of their most popular courses in their photography degree, and that popularity has been responsible for the construction of the new darkroom facilities according to Daniel Armstrong, a lecturer at the University.
“Our course is 90 per cent digital, but it’s important to engage in that history,” he tells 774 ABC Melbourne. The history Armstrong is referring to is the time honored tradition of film photography, spending time in a darkroom watching images come to life on photographic paper. There really is no equivalent in the digital realm, processing images in Photoshop or Lightroom just isn’t the same.
“The processes are different, the making of the image is different, the options are different and compared to digital they’re limited,” Armstrong says. “Standing in a darkroom, projecting an image onto paper and then watching it come alive in the chemicals — that’s all part of that process.”
Even most film enthusiasts here in the states don’t use or have access to a darkroom, with the most sending their film into labs for development. But as more and more of the younger generation of photographers use and become interested in film photography, it wouldn’t be all that surprising to see more of these modern darkroom facilities spring up. We can only hope…