Many photographers feel that while their digital cameras produce amazing quality images when used correctly but believe the craft of the media has been taken from them and embedded in software applications. The darkroom is still a place where the true craft of photography can be found. Darkroom equipment which was once priced beyond the means of the typical enthusiast photographer can be picked up in online auctions for a tiny fraction of its original value. Sadly, courses on the subject are slowly disappearing as colleges convert their darkrooms into digital editing suites.
The day was jam packed and we both learnt a lot about various parts of traditional darkroom photography, the developing process, pin hole cameras, photograms and luminograms. Emma Hart, Sandy Secondary School, Bedfordshire
Traditional black and white photographic prints still have some significant advantages over their digital equivalents the most obvious being its archival quality. A properly processed and washed black and white print on fibre based photographic paper should still be around in a hundred years time. The digital equivalent would need regular conversion by the photographer and their progeny to be available for future generations.
My permanent darkroom is just outside of Bath, it houses two enlargers, a Devere 504 covering a range of film formats including; 35mm, 6cm x 6cm, 6cm x 7cm, and 5″x4″ and an LPL C7700 enlarger for 35mm up to 6cmx7cm.
I also have a mobile darkroom to provide onsite training which can accommodate the smaller enlarger.
Due to the compact size of the portable darkroom it is normally suited to teaching smaller groups.
Darkroom consultancy service
If you are planning to set up a darkroom or revive a darkroom which hasn’t been used for a while, I can provide onsite support to test equipment and materials, provide the guidance and training to get you up and running. If you do not have a darkroom, I can bring along a small portable darkroom, all I need is a nearby sink and electricity.
Nigel sparked not only confidence in us, in what we were going to teach the students but also newfound enthusiasm for the process. Whilst with us Nigel also spent time checking out, advising, and helping organise and clean our current darkroom that hasn’t seen much love. He advised us on best practice and items to purchase to make what we had already easier to use and more effective, he even brought along his own kit as examples and to demonstrate techniques to us. Emma Hart, Sandy Secondary School, Bedfordshire
Typical workshop content might include;
- an introduction to darkroom equipment,
- film processing demonstration,
- camera-less photography, photograms, luminograms,
- contact printing, enlargement, use of multigrade paper,
- advanced darkroom technique, dodging and burning and split grade printing
- experimental darkroom techniques.
Guidance on teaching darkroom techniques on GCSE, A level and BTEC course at schools and colleges
Having taught film and darkroom photography for some time, I recognise the common pitfalls encountered by new users and have developed a range of strategies to simplify learning. If you are introducing traditional analogue photography and darkroom techniques into your curriculum, I can help you to structure your sessions to support learning. Sessions also include a range of experimental darkroom techniques
In addition to darkroom workshops, I can also provide training on using black and white film, choosing a camera, loading film, unloading film, processing options and film processing.
Pinhole photography and camera-less photography workshop
Learn how to create photographic images without the need for a camera. In this practical workshop, attendees will learn how to create photographic images without the need for a camera. They will also learn about the camera obscura before making their own pinhole cameras and using them to take a range of different pictures. At the end of the session, they will be able to take their cameras home to take extreme pinhole exposures over several months in length.
Prices start at £350 for a day for up to 5 attendees (2 if using the portable darkroom)
If you would like me to deliver an analogue photography workshop at your home or workplace give me a call or drop me an email.