There was a time when developing your own film was not only a badge of honour, it was seen as a skill of creativity; instantly making whoever masters it into the cool one! In that vain I have dabbled in University with film development using the dark room, it was a place of solitude appreciating photography as an art form. Much like a painter taking the time to soak in all the creativity that goes into a master piece. It also had an element of surprise in seeing the pictures show up for the first time (this has since been robbed from us by the digital camera age).
Dark rooms were never imposing, they were always hidden, and there were plenty of makeshift dark rooms (some in vans) that made it accessible to all. But I haven’t seen one in years – I have made half hazard attempts to try developing again but its quiet the effort – and extra cost – compared to the manufactured affordability of digital cell phone cameras today.
Cell phone cameras, as hard as they try, can never replace DSLR cameras. Instant gratification has its benefits but it cannot replace the inevitable quiet creativity within the walls of a darkroom. T is however making less apparent and the individual photo developing skills that full on photographers have are slowly fading into the history books. With manual photo processing, you can manipulate pictures in a way that allows for a unique artistic look– granted, digital filters are slowly catching up there as well. Are we standing by while another art form to dies out quietly? Along with it, we will miss the solitude dark rooms that not only nurture but force an element of creativity and individual expression that made photography a standalone art form in its own right.
What do you guys think?