Darkrooms were once photographers’ sacred space for harnessing the magic of photography. Today, we mostly find them in a handful of schools teaching traditional photography, independent labs, and private artist spaces. Still, most of them are being decommissioned by universities that have shifted their focus to digital photography. Some of London’s creatives have responded to this by putting up Bright Rooms, dubbed a 21st century darkroom built to celebrate the craft of photography and heighten engagement with analog printing.
From developing the film to seeing prints appear during the fixing bath, the darkroom houses a number of photographic processes considered long gone by most photographers. But with the resurgence of analog, some film photographers are seeking to complete their engagement with the darkroom experience. This is where Bright Rooms comes in with a new era darkroom experience that encourages a more tactile and hands-on approach to photography.
The idea behind Bright Rooms is for the modern-day darkroom to be more than just a space where a bunch of film photographers can occasionally pop up and develop their film. Rather, it’s meant to be a venue where people can take open access courses and workshops, and attend events and exhibitions on top of using darkroom facilities. Photographer Eddie Otchere and filmmaker Dan Fontanelli are setting up a beautifully designed space inspired by what they call the holy trinity of photography: the camera, the negative, and the print. Their vision is for the space to serve as a hub for a community to learn, create, and share with these three elements in mind.
“This is what we believe makes analogue photography a keystone of the arts and the history of art. From processing to the print, Bright Rooms will invite the next generation of photographers to learn the craft of photographic printing.”
Bright Rooms is set to open in London’s Peckham Levels on December 12th, and will soon open their membership for those who are interested. They’ve created a Kickstarter campaign ahead of the opening, so if you’re keen on backing this, there’s still time to pledge your support — and get awesome rewards like prints, courses, memberships, and portrait sessions.