darkroom

Features

My father was indirectly responsible for my introduction to non-traditional photo techniques around 35 years ago. When I told him of my intentions to become a professional photographer, he convinced me that one practical option would be to earn a certificate in medical photography. However, taking pictures of impaled eyes, severed heads and bloody surgical procedures was of less interest to me than shooting with infrared film.

Editor's Note: This is a guest blog post by Jill Enfield.

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1 year ago
Features

One of my earliest memories was arranging clothespins on a windowsill by a clothesline overlooking a courtyard in Boro Park, Brooklyn. It gave a 3-year-old a sense of productivity and a lesson in hand-eye coordination. It also gave me a lifelong love of spring-loaded wood, those uniform legions of easy-on, easy-off fasteners that are as all-purpose as Duct Tape but without the sticky residue. And they're reusable.

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2 years ago
Buying Guide

In these digital times, most photographers have migrated away from the traditional wet darkroom process, in favor of the DSLR and the inkjet printer. However, if you have ever watched a silver-gelatin print developing in a darkroom tray, you will probably never forget the feeling of watching an image bloom on a blank piece of paper right before your eyes.

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3 years ago
Buying Guide

Although black-and-white papers are vulnerable to daylight until "fixed," a certain amount of "safe" light is allowed in the darkroom. It is this amber, red or green light (contingent on the sensitivity of the particular enlarging paper you’re using) that allows us to find our way around while we prepare to print. 

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3 years ago
Buying Guide

Proper ventilation is essential in a darkroom. Chemicals, especially fixer (hypo) and acetic acid (stop bath), give off strong fumes that can be disturbing, can aggravate respiratory ailments and are extremely unhealthy in a non-ventilated space. 

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3 years ago
Buying Guide

It is important to mention at this point that print quality is more a factor of the negative than it is of the equipment used to print. Remember what Ansel Adams said: “The negative is the score. The print is the performance.” That says it all. It is very difficult to get a satisfactory print from a bad negative.

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3 years ago
Buying Guide

A contact printer (or proofer) is a kind of easel that enables you to make a sheet of thumbnail prints from a roll of film that has been cut into strips, usually containing six images per strip for 35mm film and three or four images per strip for medium-format negatives.

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3 years ago
Buying Guide

Though the choices are fewer than they were just a few years back, there are still a number of black and white enlarging papers available to satisfy the printing needs of both amateurs and hypo-stained chemical darkroom diehards.

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3 years ago
Buying Guide

Like their black-and-white counterparts, the number of color enlarging papers available in sheet and roll form is limited compared to the number of offerings that were available before the advent of digital inkjet printers.

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3 years ago
Buying Guide

A paper safe can save time, effort and the cost and aggravation of having to replace a box of fogged photo printing paper. Imagine going into the darkroom to make ONE print and having to open a brand new box of printing paper. Just as you open it, someone comes in to your darkroom and turns on the room light!

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3 years ago
Buying Guide

As an engine is the heart of a car, an enlarger is the heart of a darkroom. It is the instrument through which negatives are brought to life. Along with a good lens, it is the enlarger around which the rest of the darkroom is built.

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3 years ago
Buying Guide

As the name implies, a timer is what controls the length of an exposure. A timer can be something as simple as a watch or as complex as a high-end multi-functional digital timer. The advantage of an electronic timer is that it can be connected to the enlarger’s lamp house. 

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3 years ago
Buying Guide

An easel holds the printing paper flat beneath the enlarger. Easels come in many sizes and varieties: two-bladed, four-bladed, borderless and speed easels. A good easel can make printing easy, while a bad one can be a nightmare.

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3 years ago
Buying Guide

For previewing black-and-white, color negative or slide film, there is nothing more convenient and comfortable than being able to examine images through a high-quality loupe atop a precise, color-controlled light box. In this way, a photographer can determine which of a series of images is the best composed or sharpest, or which contains subtleties of light or expression that the others lack.

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3 years ago
Buying Guide

Despite the shrinking availability of black-and-white films and papers, the chemistry available that’s required to process black-and-white film and paper remains virtually untouched since the heyday of what we now refer to as “traditional” photographic processing.

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3 years ago

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