Darkroom and Shop

Late December 2017

I’m trying to track down some darkroom equipment. When I first became interested in photography I used to use my kitchen for a darkroom. I’d set it up as needed and spend all night in it, always totally loosing all track of time. But it was always a temporary set-up. However, I now have a fair sized room available to use for a permanent darkroom and I’m really excited about it. The room needs a little structural work which I hope to complete in the spring and hopefully by the time summer is here I should have a functioning darkroom. A part of me feels that because of digital photography I need an excuse to spend time on this. Fortunately, my son is very interested in photography and so in him I have the excuse I feel I need to get back up to speed with my film photography. I want to expand on ideas of alternative photographic processes and image making that I’d like to encourage others to try.

I’ve also been offered a small retail space for free that I can stock with photographic prints and I can fill several large windows with work I’d like to display. This has made me think about what my work is for, what I take images of and why, and how I should display it. I am able to redecorate the shop space and so I’m thinking about what I’ll do with that. It makes me realise that I don’t really go to galleries much, so I’ll have to visit some to see how they display work. My space is a mini one. There is no pressure on me to sell anything, but I’d like to. Again, I have questions to ask myself about why. When I was talking to a friend I realised that I could find having a shop quite a difficult thing to do; emotionally it might be hard if no-one likes what I’ve done or if I hear nasty comments. Logically / mentally I realise that I like my work, that not everyone will like it or understand it, and that it might not be commercial in a small rural town; it is inevitable that at some stage I will hear someone being negative. So I have decided to buy myself a lenticular picture of baby animals as a reminder that people buy and love things that I cannot stand; people that like lenticular baby animal pictures will probably not like my current prints that are out-of-focus and quite dark, and that’s okay. I feel like I am liberating myself from the tyranny of focus when I am taking them and I enjoy it. I am getting positive feedback from people whose opinions I value. So that’s great. However, I will keep the baby animal lenticular picture somewhere only I can see it, along with a picture of Carrie Fisher being badass. It feels like the new year is bringing new opportunities and I feel able to try out photographic techniques that I hadn’t even considered before now.

I now have three spaces available to me for working in, plus my house to myself for most of the day, and I feel that my time has been freed up. I don’t have cancer, and after thinking I might have it and then finding out I haven’t I feel like a great freedom and opportunity has opened up to me.

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