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Friday, August 8

US Schools Promoting the Darkroom

A striking self-portrait by one of the students at Cambridge
Rindge and Latin High School in New England

Sometimes it can seem as though we film photographers are a bunch of fossils not just for the fact that we're still practising a very old art but also because analogue seems to be predominantly a preserve of those above a certain age.

Yes, there are some Holga Hipsters to keep us young but, at least where I live, very few signs that people in their 20s and 30s have much interest in film and darkroom work. I've tried with my own three kids to get them interested in film but have failed miserably. I even offered to recover a classy Contax 137MA with a pink lizard skin camera leather for my daughter, Freya, but to no avail. I think she quite fancied the idea but would probably have kept it as an ornament.

So, just for a change, here's some good news on the youth front and it hails from the US where there are some schools still keen to showcase the advantages of film and encourage their students to develop a sound analogue base even if they later switch wholly or partly to digital.

Are there any UK schools doing this sort of thing? I don't think so but I'd be glad to hear of any that are.


Jean-François Bonnin said...

From France.

Visiting the latest Raymond Depardon's exhibition early this year in Paris, I had a chat with a young woman working in a primary school near my place.

I was surprised to learn that she maintained a small darkroom in the school, for young pupils, developing negatives from a ...sténopé !

Long live fossils !!

John Robison said...

I also have tried to interest my kids (and now grandchildren) in film, also to no avail. However I sold an unused Mamiya C220 with lenses to a young lady who is quite an artist. She is into dance, film photography, darkroom work, (at which she is far better than I) and other interests. The local liberal arts college still has classes in film photography and a darkroom.

As with many old film dogs I also find myself with several cameras, mostly 35mm, that are well usable but sit in a dresser. I would like to give them to art students but also want to make sure they just won't sit but be used for classes and learning. I think that I would ask that if they do not intend to continue in film after a time that they would pass them on to new students.

Hernan Zenteno said...

I taught some darkroom magic in the 90's but now appears that everybody wants all now, the old polaroid appears slow. I like read that this slow process and thinking is been taught in some places around the world. Is another way to learn photography than the tsunami of images of all the social media that are only a pollution of images.

Aubrey Silvertooth said...

Very interesting and good to hear that analog is alive and well in several school. The high school in Texas (where I teach History, government, and economics) is supposed to have an analog photography class this coming school year. I do not know if enough students registered for the class, but it is encouraging that it is alive even in a small town in Texas.

Garrett Meyers said...

I'm 28 and more into developing and darkroom engalrging than really anything in life right now. The darkroom is my special place. Self tought 100%