Over the weekend my boyfriend and I hit up a tag sale at an arts collective downtown. I love a good tag sale find and the potential of finding something fun and creative was too huge a pull to walk away from. And my instincts were right! We walked through the small-ish tag sale pretty quickly, but then found the photography section and picked up these three beauties! Old cameras. I couldn’t be happier. And they work, too, so they have the potential to be so much more than just decorative.
They were also selling a bunch of darkroom equipment. This is where I talk about how much restraint I actually did show that morning. Not only were there another 4 or 5 cameras, there was an enlarger and lights and timers and probably more had I dug down deeper into the box. And that’s when I was pretty much punched in the face by nostalgia. Darkroom nostalgia. Art school in college. Hours upon hours of developing film, exposing the paper and walking it through the chemicals needed to perform the magic. Because that’s always how it felt — like magic.
Today we have the instantly-gratifying art of the photograph. Snap and voila! Here it is on screen. We can print them, too, all without wires. But, there’s no mystery anymore. And there’s no magic. Some people are still celebrating this art form in its original glory and I applaud them. But, as a business owner with 22 things to do each hour it’s just not feasible right now. Instead we go for the quick and dirty process which I’ll admit, is actually quite impressive in its own way.
But, nothing compares to shooting a whole roll of film and the suspense of having to wait and see if you captured something perfectly. Or perhaps a mistake that turned out even better! And that magical moment of placing the exposed, yet still blank, paper into the chemical bath and watching as the image slowly appears. Yes. Right there. You captured a moment in time and just watched it come to life on the page.
Unfortunately, a darkroom in my house isn’t quite doable right now for a variety of reasons. But, these new darling additions to my office shelves are going to keep that dream alive. That’s what dreaming is all about, right? The open possibilities of life. Today I dream of a darkroom.