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Darkroom meditation…

No, I was not doing yoga in the darkroom! I printed more proof prints tonight and was so pleased with one that I made in an alleyway downtown. I’ll include a scan of the fiber print here once it is dry and flat tomorrow. Oh, I LOVE fiber base paper. The tonal range totally blows the doors off of any RC paper that I have ever used. Who can complain about the longer processing time, when your images are ten times more beautiful?! I was the only one in the darkroom tonight for the longest time. The three o’clock class had been cancelled, so the lights were all off. At least the darkroom was set up, although I think I was getting the tail end of the chemicals. Everything printed fine but I could see the stop bath going dark by the time I left. It was nice to have the darkroom to myself. No one was there to blast annoying music on the radio, no waiting for an open tray, no ridiculous conversation about the most dumb and random things on the planet. It was just me, myself, and the smell of fix. Now, almost three hours later, my hands still reek of my rubber gloves and fix. I pretty much have to just outright take a shower to not smell like a darkroom. I wish I had a place to develop and print that was closer to home. I REALLY wish that I actually had my own darkroom, but that seems a little out of reach right now. I am still debating whether or not to sell my digital camera to put toward a large format. 

I feel like digital has got everyone thinking that it is invincible and that there is no other option for successful photography anymore. I want to get on top of my roof and shout that, “FILM STILL EXISTS!” and ditch any evidence that I ever owned a digital. Well, I would still like a simple little point and shoot for taking on my hikes with my sister and our friends so that we have proof of all the crazy stuff that we have done. When I talk about getting rid of the digital, people say, “Well, I don’t think you really want to do that, do you?” My reply is “Yes, I sure do.” I was talking to a friend just before I started this post and was telling him about the first paid project that I did, digital of course. It was not very fun. In fact, I really hated it. Here I was, a senior in high school taking college level classes and pretty much being cajoled into doing this thing. The job was to photograph about fifty people receiving some sort of certificate at this conference that my dad and a business partner were doing. There wasn’t a lot of time to get things organized the way I would have liked them to be and there was a mixup on the date and it was just stressful all the way around. I had to have prints made in an hour and had to go back the next day since some of the people didn’t show up. It did not go smoothly and left a bitter taste in my mouth for jobs that are “just for the money”. After that job, I had a lot of pressure to shoot family portraits of people at church and stuff and they didn’t expect me to charge them very much if anything at all. I was volunteered to shoot a church directory and should have just said no. It was an eight-week long, cat-herding, toenail-pulling ordeal. As things would have it, I learned the hard way about backing up your hard drive with that project. I lost the whole dang thing last fall. I don’t know why I felt like I had to say all of that, but I feel better after saying something about it. I have never really talked about my failures in photography, mostly because they have been with my digital camera and it’s almost sacrilegious to say anything against it. Now, I really admire some of the digital work that I have seen some people do, but I just do feel like it is what I need to be doing right now. I think I am a dying breed of small fish swimming in a very large ocean… 
Maybe I should become a master printer…
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