It wasn’t my first time in the darkroom. When I was studying Graphic Design, I had this class as part of my photography programme during the graduation. At that time, it was a curiosity, but I never felt like doing it my self. It was more convenient to source professional labs to have your pictures developed. Yes, I’ve seen the world before the internet! – and analogue film cameras were the standard back then.
Developing my own film seemed to me as a luxury, and an amount of time and money that I couldn’t afford it. Then, the first digital cameras came. They were quite rubbish at the beginning, at least the affordable ones. It took some time before I had my first digital camera. However, since then, I never felt like coming back to the old film. I’ve got immediately engaged with the digital photography world. It was amazing to see the images while you were shooting and so practical to just download them straightway to the computer. And guess what: your memory card was the limit! You could take as many shots as you would like to without worrying about the restricted number of exposures on the film. This, to say the least. Post processing images in photoshop was almost like magic. A whole universe of different papers and layouts were unveiled ahead.
Many years have passed and I witnessed the raise of lomography dragging with it a horde of excited enthusiasts looking forward to emulating Instagram filters with film. I have been aways a bit sceptical about what has driven those people to get into really expensive plastic cameras. If these people were craving for the film resolution possibilities, the dynamic range, or for pure interest about the analogue process, that would’ve made more sense to go after the top ranked second hand film cameras. Second hand top 35mm cameras – and even the larger formats – are still relatively easy to find and chip to buy. I wonder when the next wave will revival the typewriters and turn them into a vintage fever…
Suddenly, I’ve got myself developing film once more, just few days ago, during the second week of my MA Course… and I enjoyed it so much! It was a mixed feeling of nostalgia and handcrafting, an artistic feeling, really. That’s when, immerse in chemicals and groping in the dark, I caught my self feeling guilty. After all, I was studying for a master’s course and I wasn’t supposed to enjoy it so much. I should be suffering in pain and despair, snowed under books and intangible contents to study – my father would say.
It is curious how certain activities can bring up to the surface old memories and a bit of self knowledge. I’ve been into creativity activities since ever and working professionally with it since I first entered to the university, when I as 17. Even though, this old ghosts from my upbringing are still there, lurking somewhere in the dark.
Thant might had been a silly thought, but it shocked me raising my attention. This darkroom experience somehow messed up with my head. Now, something is different. Since then, I have been feeling this urge to draw and doodle again…
After undergoing the darkroom egotrip experience I could reassure that the reasons why I got so into digital photography are still valid and I am not persuaded to move back to film, but I have to admit that it could be a great fun to play around with film now and then.