I am halfway through my first darkroom subject. As challenging as it is at times, I am finding the whole process fantastically interesting. I am now able to shoot a roll of film, go into a pitch- black booth, open the film cannister and wind it onto a reel, place it into a sealed container, then go out and mix all the chemicals precisely and process my film. The feeling of wonder when you first get to see your images appear as a roll of negatives, wow- cool. I can also now make enlargements from my negatives utilising various filters, am beginning to experiment with dodging and burning, and generally going through a LOT of photo paper as I make mistakes and learn from them :D
Whilst not everyone’s idea of a good time, I am as always enjoying learning something new. I do feel like a beginner again, which of course I am in the darkroom, but the knowledge and skills I feel are going to be invaluable. As a classmate said- and I agree- the darkroom process, whilst enormously time- consuming, is almost meditative. It is free from noise and chaos, you work at your own pace, and the repetition of developing prints is soothing. Being possessed of a personality which abhors noise and chaos- and yet I became a Midwife?! :) – this is perfect for me.
I am currently working on the prints for my ‘light assessment’ due in a few short weeks. Black and white images really make it all about the light. You think you already know this as an intrinsic part of photography, but when you really have to make it all about INTERESTING light, you are challenged to step it up a notch.