Darkroom delights

Today we discussed photography. It’s funny when people assume we are “too young” to remember what photography used to be like. I’m still a yougun’, don’t get me wrong.

The first journalism camp I went to in ninth grade taught photography in a darkroom. This was back when I wanted to be a photojournalist. When our guest speaker started talking about the rule of thirds, composition, patterns and all that, I flashed back to rolling film around the metal containers in bags to put in the developer.

In fact, I remember running around on Sept. 11, 2001, with my SLR (no “D”) to get photos of prayer sessions around school before spending the afternoon in the darkroom developing pictures for the special edition.

Digital photography is powerful, but there’s just something about developing your own film, looking at the negatives and making prints. I used to love watching the images slowly appear on paper under the red lights. Now, we just point, click and upload.

Taking photographs may be easier now, but I pose the question: is it really better?

I’m not saying today’s photographs aren’t as good as those developed in a darkroom, but is it so much better?

And go.

2 Responses to “Darkroom delights”
  1. Jimmie says:

    I know what you mean. I used to love rolling my film and putting together the chemicals to develope it and then expose it onto the paper. I spent a lot of time in the darkroom and I wasn’t even a photo-J student, I was just a lowly reporter who loved the camera.

    That said, I supposed there is some sort of advantage with the digital camera. How many times have you had a vision in your head for how something would look? You think, “Man if I could get THIS shot and then lay it out on the page like that then it would be an AMAZING page and no one could go without reading it…” Well, digital gives you the advantage to make sure you get that shot.

    I’m all for making the extra effort, but getting it done just the way I like has it’s own set of satisfactions.

  2. Joshua Hatch says:

    The constraints of film certainly made people more judicious, due to the limitations of frames and the high cost. Debatable whether or not that was “better.”

    There is a handcrafted element that we, as a culture, are losing, however. I think this is one example of that.

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