Reclaiming Saturday Nights

Tonight was my last Saturday night in the college darkroom and one of the last nights in general, for a while at least!

There’s been many highs and lows to put it mildly. The worst aspect of the experience was that it meant being in the college six nights a week and near full days most Saturdays and Sundays too. My legs are feeling it tonight and I won’t miss the vinegary on my clothes when I return home each evening!

In black and white terms (no pun intended), I did enjoy it, although the endless test strips and work prints won’t be missed.

I’ve had light leaks on paper; have had no paper under the enlarger when I was ‘printing’ on occasion; I’ve used the timer on the ten second setting instead of one second; printed on the wrong side of the paper; you name it, I’ve done it!

Image by me, With a Squinty Eye

Image by me, With a Squinty Eye

That said, I’ve undertaken everything successfully too, so it’s all part of the learning curve I know.

If I learned anything, and I surely have, it would be to take a correctly exposed, framed and balanced photograph and that’s half the battle. It’s all the battle really, apart from processing the film which is another potential minefield.

I’ve used exhausted chemicals (but realised at the time and was able to compensate}; I’ve put film in a chemical jug instead of a paterson tank; split film on the reels with endless other mishaps.

After that, it’s print and re-print on a loop; but I’ve made it through. Almost!

With the pressure of college deadlines and while also holding down a full time job, it’s been tough. I have no doubt I will be back in the dark again and would have no problem with that, especially if working on personal projects and at my own pace.

For the Christmas period, I am going to turn every light on in my home and remove all the red bulbs from the Christmas tree! I’ve seen the light and I like it!

Here’s an ode to my time in the darkroom!





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