Here’s what I can say – when you can’t even see your hand in front of your face, the information coming in from your other senses feels so incredibly overwhelming. The smell of chemicals, the feel of smooth film (or the sweat on your neck because you know you are winding this reel all wrong), and the squeaks of the reel as you try to perfectly rest the film in its spirals are all so clear to me.
Why? Because I’m in a darkroom. Film is so sensitive to light that if it’s exposed to it for only a few seconds, all of your photos can be ruined. A good friend and I took a darkroom photography class at the Carrboro Arts Center so that we could relive the our high school and college days. When I was in high school at NCSSM in Durham, NC I took a darkroom class on a whim during my senior year and was instantly hooked. I never felt more at home than in that small room, surrounded by the same smell of chemicals and dim light. There, I spent hours developing and printing photos after shooting a roll of black and white film. I was so excited to be back in the darkroom again.
While I’d like to think that I have digital photography under my belt, film photography, and specifically developing my own film, is a different story. I definitely could have used a few more practice rounds on the reel before heading into the completely dark room, because my film ended up touching in different spots as I wound it around the reel, and it came out purple! Thankfully, I still salvaged around a 1/3 of the roll, but I’m definitely going to be practicing on a reel at home while I watch TV!
Should you worry when we photograph you on film? Nope! We send those off to a professional lab! But I am really looking forward to getting back in the darkroom and printing the photos from the roll that I developed! Stay tuned for how those come out! If you want to see more of our work in the meantime, check out our website!
*Big shoutout to Megan Kerns for the gorgeous images in this post!