January 26, 2013
While writing up my next official blog entry, I thought I’d post some photos that I shot, developed, and printed back in the days of the darkroom. All were shot with a Pentax K-1000 camera and a normal 50mm lens. Thanks for visiting!
June 29, 2011
At age 14, I developed an interest in photography. My father, ever keen to help, leaped into action, and we were soon plundering what my dad assured me was a deserted and long-forgotten darkroom in one of the buildings where he worked. My spirit was moved by the sight of so much neglected Bakelite, and the pounded metal casing of the enlarger could have been the work of a master Etruscan craftsman. Plunder schmunder. This was a salvage mission. We packed everything into the trunk of the car and peeled out of there, leaving no one the wiser.
One of the first pictures that I took, and subsequently developed and printed, is the photograph above. In time, after much fussing with the temperatures of various chemicals, I became a fairly good amateur photographer. As an adolescent who had yet to develop a rebellious streak, it was good to have a hobby. And the fact that I spent that time in a very dark room also served as a refuge from navigating the new social geography of high school, which, if rendered as a map, would display large flashing clusters representing high densities of girls. Yikes.
What interests me most about this photograph is that it’s really a snapshot of me at a particular time in my life. Like an art historian who can interpret the symbolism of a massive Renaissance canvas, I’m able to study this picture and identify what I was doing. Sure that sounds grandiose, but as a self-portrait, it reveals more about me than any blowing-out-the-candles birthday snapshot. See those egg cartons to the right of the white table? I had asked my mum to save them so that I could build a soundproof housing for my film projector. For this was also the time when I threw myself headlong into making Super-8 movies. You can see some cut film (or “trims”) on the right side of the photo, and a hand-wound editor on the left. And so on and so forth.
I recently came across some old black and white negatives that I’d developed but never gotten around to printing. They show Dillon Hall, one of the older buildings on the University of Windsor campus. Most of my classes were held in this building. When I recall my university days, it is this building that comes to mind. Keggers never enter the picture. Knowing full well that I’d never set up my darkroom again, I decided to scan the negatives and simply invert them in Photoshop. The results are shown below. Their ethereal quality reflects my own dimming memories of the place.
Thanks for reading!