Electronic Darkroom

Getting Snuggles from Peaches

Getting Snuggles from Peaches

Not an overly impressive photo, but with a few tweaks, sizing and some layers added it becomes a cute selfy  . .  all done in on the PC with software.  We’ve come a long way Alfy . . from the wet Darkroom of yesterday with smelly chemicals (most TOXIC), enlargers, dodging, special heaters and equipment all to perform the practice of printing a picture . . . lost now for the most part now days (yes small groups still exist that work in the darkroom) but for the most part . . . Today’s photographers know nothing about the darkroom and developing film or developing the printed image. I enjoy the the freedom that the electronic darkroom has afforded me, it has become second nature to me almost as much as the old Wet Darkroom process was.  There is minimal waste and almost no toxic waste (excluding printing), the major waste now . . . is Time . . . I have many photographer friends who have never been in a WET Darkroom or for that matter have Never shot film, and know some of them have never cleared their data cards from their POS digital cameras.
I am a fossil LOL, a throwback to an age that is fast to become only a glimmer in the history of photography, I am a film user, I know of D-76, Rodenal, dektol . . obscure info like the “sunny 16 rule” and what a focusing loupe is for.  Every time I use a bit of vinegar for cooking I am reminded of standing in a dark room under the glow of a red light watching the latent image appear as if by magic upon the paper I just printed under the timed exposure of an enlarger as I hovered over the paper making arcane gestures with hands and instruments, and moving the paper from each bath (developer, stop and fixer) for it’s prescribed amount of dunking . . . and finally out into daylight where I could observe the tones and shades of grey.  Color was even more taxing . . if you could do it and very few of us could do our own color film, but we could do the printing on a type of paper called Cibachrome, a temperature, chemical laden, total darkness process that produced some of the most beautiful prints I was to ever make.  Wow factor was just that . . . WOW . . . getting that wow was expensive.
So here we are, in the electronic age where photos are used in everything, everyone with a camera is a photographer, and the days of film and the wet darkroom? well they are relegated to avant-garde workshops as antiquated process and the prints that are produced are renamed Silver Gelatin process (Black & White prints).  I have not stepped into a wet darkroom for a long long time, there is no advantage in it. Arcane processes cannot match the speed of the computer or the ease with which one can process (I use the term loosely here) the images.  So what do I miss so much about the Darkroom of the film & paper era?  I guess it would be the tactile experience of the process and the magic of the latent image as it appears in the developing tray.  I could not achieve the volume of images I post or use now with such techniques, and the image above took just a few minutes to create in the form you see it in.  The process, just as complex as one wants it to be, the process . . . all a matter of digital manipulations and ones own taste.  All that is wasted is time and some printing paper, No TOXIC chemicals staining ones hands or poisoning oneself . . .  and if one doesn’t like the end results, just hit the undo button.

I still shoot film, and what today is avant-garde with film defect looks and lens flair filters or film look alike actions would have found their way into the trash bucket . . I still shoot film, and then I finish it in the Digital Darkroom of my PC.

Get out and shoot some film, have it scanned and then play . . .

my favorite Link to shooting Film, developing film and buying film go to FPP Michael Raso host of FPP

That’s it I am outta here . . .

Addendum: This is a manipulation to emulate a painterly style through several software programs and layering to achieve this stylized self portrait. That is my African Grey “Bungee” in the picture below.

The Connection

The Connection


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