Interview with Linsey Gosper, Director of Strange Neighbour Gallery and Darkroom

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FotoFilmic: Can you briefly describe the type of analog photography facilities & services you offer?

Strange Neighbour: Strange Neighbour Darkrooms are dedicated to promoting and preserving darkroom practice. The spacious and well-equipped black and white darkroom and film processing room are for hire and offer easy access for the photographic community. All equipment is provided for printing and developing 35mm, 120mm and 4×5″ film formats. Our darkroom printing is wet tray and caters for up to 20 x 32inch prints. Enlargers, tanks, easels, focus finders, proofing easels and chemistry are provided and clients supply their own paper. Membership is mandatory, and ensures all photographers accessing the darkroom are comfortable using the equipment and processes safely and independently. For those photographers new to the darkroom, Strange Neighbour darkroom courses will be running from April.

FF: What is the human & artistic story behind Strange Neighbour? What motivated you to create or sustain a kind of business many now see as obsolete (if not doomed)?

SN: Strange Neighbour is a contemporary art gallery based in Fitzroy with separate studios and B+W darkroom onsite. Strange Neighbour opened last June with the launch of our curator-led gallery space, which has a unique program of multi-disciplinary exhibitions encompassing cross-generational artists. The gallery model is innovative, sitting between a commercial gallery and an artist-run space and has an advisory board. In January this year we opened our studio spaces and this April we have just launched our darkroom with a curated darkroom exhibition by director, Linsey Gosper. She has had a dream to open a community access black and white darkroom for over 10 years and has been collecting and storing enlargers and darkroom equipment during this time. It was always a plan of the founders Linsey Gosper and Ash Kerr, to build a darkroom at Strange Neighbour – this however takes time and cash so it was a process. During this time people have come forward and contributed bits and pieces from their personal darkroom collections, so it seems we are not the only ones who have been holding on to this antiquated technology in the hope that it would one day be used again. To our knowledge there are no other such darkrooms for hire in Melbourne.