Since March the entire country has been in enforced lockdown owing the pandemic of Covid 19. It’s been a long and grueling time for a lot of people and the struggle to find a meaningful activity inside the monotony of self-isolating in your home either alone or with family has been a challenge. Some creative folk however, have used this enforced restriction of movement s as perfect opportunity to realize some old hobbies or interests lying dormant behind the relentless schedule of our 9-5 work culture.
One such creative is William West Seegmiller, who after stumbling across his Instagram post I noticed some captivating photographic prints. But it was the make shift dark room in a cupboard that was really inspiring.
Since the start of July, public spaces and utilities have started to open up again, albeit with a sense of trepidation. But with this precarious emergence of normality, some are proclaiming a profound sense of disappointment with themselves in not taking full advantage of the lockdown. Since there is still a slow return to normality there’s still time to take on some home bound hobbies and realize those projects you put to one side.
Here’s 4 reasons to build your own dark room at home.
Compared to most hobbies, setting up a dark room is comparably affordable. A kit from eBay consisting of enlarger with timer, trays, solution and red light can be as low as £99. Since the initial outlay is the greatest expense, sundries like 50 sheets of photographic paper and solution can cost £30 which makes 60p per print very reasonable compared to ink jet printing.
Quality of Analogue printing
Analogue printing compared with inkjet printing of compressed digital files offers more range in quality and detail. Compare the look of an oil painting to an acrylic water based one. This is a good comparison.
Recycle those old negatives
Take a trip down memory lane by taking out those old forgotten negatives and having them enlarged. By doing more than collecting your ‘ snappy snaps ‘you can have more creative control of the look of those old cherished photos.
Experimentation with Mono printing
You don’t have to stick with simply enlarging those old negatives. Since photography etymologically refers to writing with light, there’s a huge scope for experimental approaches with your photographic paper. Consider ‘Monoprints’ by placing objects on the surface and affecting the time of light exposure to see what the resulting effects are. You are making marks with light ultimately- it can be a fun discovery!
Stand out from the ubiquity of digital media
Analogue photography stands out from the ubiquity of digital media through its considered composition through to skilled techniques in developing and printing from the film. The richness of texture and detail is richer than the compressed image quality of jpegs and the ink jet printing always falls short of depth. Considering the popularity of amateur photography as a result of the accessible nature of digital cameras, there’s an opportunity to put your creative urges to the disciplined nature of film photography and really find your own distinctions that will stand out from the rest of the crowd.