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The End of the Darkroom?

exposure Plus
13 5.1k England
21 Jul 2008 5:52PM
Thank you Ex for your information , A bit to much for me at the moment (*.*)

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cameracat 13 8.6k 61 Norfolk Island
21 Jul 2008 6:04PM

Quote:While there was frustration at getting the print right in the darkroom, it was never anything like as bad as trying to get a decent print out of the Epson printer the magazines conned me into buying.

This about sums up my experiences with the same brand of printer.

Not just one model either....Sad

Almost went " Film " again......!

Now we have Canon printers the problems don't exist.....Smile

That said it would be a bleak day for photography, If film and film processing disappeared, Or became impossible through lack of available materials, It's not the old way of doing things, It's a different way thats all........!
exposure Plus
13 5.1k England
21 Jul 2008 6:11PM
I loved darkroom proccessing, the smell, the dark and experimentation, I know you can creative digitally but it was fun in a dark red lighted room loading film and prossessing prints (*.*)
Morpyre Plus
12 1.6k 8 Wales
21 Jul 2008 7:10PM
if you scan a negative film or slide film into your computer do you still refer to it as film photography or is it now digital photography. for every person who rigidly sticks to only calling film real photography they don't seem to realise it becomes digital as soon as it is scanned.

it's time people became more open minded and excepted that both are a form of photography and leave it at that.

peter "morpyre" turner
keith selmes 14 7.2k 1 United Kingdom
21 Jul 2008 8:02PM

Quote:If you scan a negative film or slide film into your computer do you still refer to it as film photography or is it now digital photography
It used to be a good way of getting caught in the crossfire, since the digivangelists and the film fanatics both thought you were the enemy. Thankfully, the heat seems to have gone out of it now.
joolsb 12 27.1k 38 Switzerland
21 Jul 2008 8:35PM
I think editing scanned film digitally is referred to as a 'hybrid workflow', these days. And I'm certainly happy with that.
exposure Plus
13 5.1k England
21 Jul 2008 9:25PM
That sounds Good Joolsb(*.*)
RogBrown 10 3.1k 10 England
21 Jul 2008 9:38PM
I've spent hundreds of hours in a smelly darkroom developing films & printing them & I'm quite happy never to have to do it again!
SteveCharles 14 2.3k 18 England
21 Jul 2008 10:02PM
My darkroom experience is limited to what I did on my city & guilds course. I harbour a fantasy of getting back into a darkroom, although realistically it's unlikely. I do shoot film, develop my own b&w films, and scan them.

I think that as long as people shoot film the darkroom will exist. There is a place for the traditional, hand made print, and I think it will have an increasingly sought after value as a unique product in the fine art side of photography. I think the days are gone of it being widespread, although I do believe that there are quite a number of people introduced to photography via digital who have been inspired to investigate film photography, especially with the affordability now of medium and large format equipment, and a percentage of those will have taken up traditional printing, so digital imaging hasn't quite been the death of traditional methods originally predicted.

As for relevance to modern methods, I do believe that learning traditional methods gives a good understanding of photographic roots and principles. Many of the tools and terms in Photoshop are derived from traditional techniques, and certainly in my case having briefly done it 'for real' has given me a good understanding of what I can expect to achieve digitally. When I dodge and burn in PS, for example, I still envisage it as a darkroom process. It makes it seem less of a technical computer based activity, and more a modern version of something already established. I think a lot of people would understand digital imaging better with some traditional training, and I hope it continues to be taught.
KenTaylor Plus
13 3.1k 2 United Kingdom
22 Jul 2008 12:11AM
On the question of darkrooms it has been several years since I used mine despite it still being there. The dilemma is I have excellent cameras that use film plus my years in the darkroom was with B&W. Others have said that Digital has at last given one the result craved for in the darkroom through software such as Photoshop. This would have involved a range of papers and developers in the darkroom where some are still happy exploring different techniques..

The number one issue is space for a darkroom as can be seen from the post above. Where it is at a premium then digital post processing becomes very attractive.

The materials will still be there for a good many years despite certain chemicals being withdrawn for health and safety reasons. Alternatives will be found.

Yes it is a good thing that we move on. However I feel that there has been a trade off until we have full frame sensors with most digital cameras. That trade off is the dynamic range that doesn’t match film, hence the many shots you see with blown highlights.

That brings us to densitometry roughly meaning measuring the tonal value within photographic materials or sensors. Measuring exposure is the basic rule that somehow has not been made easier with digital despite the many metering systems where the question `why` should be asked. For that reason alone the traditional method, in this case exposure on film or print will forever have a part in modern photography methods.

The new methods can indeed work together. On the commercial side it has to be digital if only for its speed. On the enthusiast side where time is not a prerequisite and that unique quality of the darkroom print is wanted there will be a demand however small. For those with a leaning towards Art the mix can lead to interesting images.
Just Jas Plus
15 26.1k 1 England
22 Jul 2008 12:18AM

Quote:.....cinema didn't die when tv was invented...

No? Around here there aren't any, and where I lived previously there aren't.

The buildings, if still there, are now Bingo Halls! Sad
jimthistle73 13 2.4k 1 United Kingdom
22 Jul 2008 1:26AM
There's a wealth of experience in this thread but I find it a little sad that so few still wet print in home darkrooms.

I still use my film kit and my spare room transforms into a darkroom within ten minutes (much to the annoyance of my better half).

I work as a photographer and wouldn't dream of carrying out a commercial assignment using film, unless a client specifically requested it - this has only happened once and I suspect it will never happen again! All my film work is for pure pleasure and (very) rare print sales.

That pretty much answers the question, "...do they (traditional methods) still have a part to play in modern photography?" For the vast majority of professional photographers, the answer is no - for all the reasons previously posted; the time factor, the space factor, speed and convenience - not to mention waste disposal issues and decreasing availibility of chemistry/film etc.

Just one point though. I've had two CF cards fail on me to date. Both containing wedding photos and both with similar corruption issues. Both cards had been used scores of times with no problems and fortunately, both times I was able to recover more than 90% of the images. Both cards are now filling up a landfill site.

It did make me reflect on the fact that I've never, ever had a corrupt film. If there's a problem with my negatives, it's always been my fault and I've known about it as soon as I've made a daft mistake. It does occaisionally make me think it would be nice to shoot weddings on film which is entirely contrary to the usual ethos that shooting digital is 'safer' and more reliable........
redsnappa 15 2.0k United Kingdom
22 Jul 2008 11:07AM

Quote:I've never, ever had a corrupt film.

I have had the sprocket holes rip rendering the film useless.

I used darkrooms for over 20 years and wouldnt miss them if they all disapeared tomorrow
SandyMiller 11 932 United Kingdom
22 Jul 2008 11:24AM
Steve Charles and Jim Thistle both covered what was on my mind so suffice it to say that there are still a few dinosaurs around who love seeing their slides on the light box and having the possibility of doing hand-made wet prints from them. I just hope that film is produced for many years to come and that labs can continue to do this type of print.

If I was doing professional assignments then yes, digital would be more practical but I'm not and I love film - so there.

Bronty Sorus Jnr
C_Daniels 12 399 10 England
22 Jul 2008 11:28AM
I had mixed feelings about my time spent in the college darkroom...

It was enjoyable and interesting and you felt more integrated into the history of the camera and photography in general by actively being involved with the old fashioned way of processing film and developing a print. It has more of a charm or sense of magic about it all I suppose especially as each print is open to more individuality with the nature of the darkroom process. I tried quite a number of artistic experiments too to see how they compare to doing similar techniques on the computer and was pleasantly surprised. My favourite was a series of solarised - reversed solarised and double reversed solarised shots of the minotaur statue at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park which I think I took on my first meet there with one or two others from here as documented in the ePz books front pages Smile The solarisation worked incredibly well for my first go and the final double reversed image had all the desired contrast and macky line effects that I was after. The prints I did in class at 10 x 8 did seem a bit grainy even on the low ISO film used (100 or 200 I think) In a way though it sort of adds an artistic effect and character to some shots unless you are photographing specifically the detail where maximum sharpness is called for.
The down side to working in a darkroom for me though was the amount of time things can take to get where you want to be with an image. The fact that it's all carried out in a dimly lit environment using an escalating amount of what I understand to be unenvironmentaly unfriendly chemicals and paper can also have a mental drain...It can get infuriating and costly too - especially if you mess the film up trying to get it onto the reel in the light proof bag, more annoying if you think you have some good shots on there...

Summing up then I'd say that darkrooms are good but probably prefer the modern method Smile

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