The Hawaii Darkroom to Bring Community Darkroom Experience to the Big Island

The Hawaii Darkroom hopes to bring the community darkroom experience to the Big Island through Kickstarter funding.

Heads up, film photographers! If you’ve setup your own darkroom and hope that more people will get to experience its magic, here’s a project that definitely deserves your support. With your pledge on Kickstarter, you’ll help bring the complete darkroom experience to the film photography community of Hawaii.

The Hawaii Darkroom is the initiative of firefighter and film photographer Mike Caputo and Eric Liefer, owner of the Big Island Print Shop. They are hoping to raise funds for the startup cost of a community darkroom in Hilo. They’ve already started setting up shop and are looking at a soft opening on March 15th, and will have it fully open to the public in April. This fundraising is meant for purchasing additional supplies, as well as custom-made shelves and fixtures.

“Ultimately, this is why I am building a community darkroom. I want to spread my passion for film to everyone I speak with, and to create easy public access to this type of facility. There’s nothing like it in the state, and I want to change that for as many film photographers as I can,” Mike said in the campaign story.

In exchange for the pledges, they have prepared a number of awesome rewards that are hard to resist: signed darkroom prints, day passes to the studio, and discounted memberships that include developing and printing classes for both beginners and more experienced darkroom practitioners.

The darkroom prints will range from 5×7 color postcards to traditional B&W prints on 8×10 Ilford RC Pearl paper, up to 11×14 Art 300 fiber that will be selenium toned. Caputo usually sells his prints on Instagram for twice as much as the pledge amounts are going for, so those who have been following his work may want to grab this chance to score a print.

As for the membership reward, it will give you access to the darkroom during operating hours and already includes all the chemistry and cleanup service. Apart from moving all his personal equipment to this studio, he has also ordered more equipment that includes a negative drying oven, print dryers, enlargers, jobo machines, and many others — everything that a proper darkroom requires, you bet he’ll have it ready.

Developing and printing classes are available both to members and non-members, and will feature a range of courses that include:

  • Shooting B&W film
  • Developing 35mm up to large format
  • Basic printing with multigrade filters, dodging and burning, split-grade printing, and toning the final print

Ready to show your support? Head to the Kickstarter campaign now to find out more and make your pledge.


Photos from The Hawaii Darkroom on Kickstarter