Show Us Your Darkroom #1: Shane Booth

This is the first in a series, we hope, of articles on the darkrooms of the readers of the blog as well as professional photographers. Shane Booth has kindly submitted something about his darkroom build which may help inspire you in your own build.

I built my darkroom about 3 years ago, the need for a home darkroom wasn’t a high priory as I did have good access to a local camera club with a 4×5 enlarger but when the garage was about to fall down we decided to rebuild it and include a upstairs office area for my work requirements which then would free up our spare bedroom.

The darkroom is a partitioned area at one end of the office measuring 2100 mm x  4100mm, an area large enough to be turned into a bathroom should the need arise. Internally there is nothing special, the benches are in a U shape at one end and are simple frames using 16 mm ply and melamine tops. At some point I may even get around to putting in some shelves underneath to improve storage.  The sink was constructed using 16 mm structural ply with several coats of two pot marine paint which seems to have cost more than everything else, it measures 660 mm x 2400mm x 150mm deep big enough to fit 16×20 trays if required. There is a poor impression of a drying rack underneath. For convenience there are two sets of taps, but only cold water is connected, if I need hot water I boil the kettle and while running hot water would be great it really hasn’t been to inconvenient. I did fit a water filter on the incoming water line. A bathroom inline fan takes care of ventilation requirements.

Gear wise my enlarger is a De Vere 45 with an Ilford 500 head and a set of Rodagon lens for 35mm up to 4×5, LF film generally gets developed in a Jobo CPE2 processor or in a standard Patterson tank if using 135 or 120 film. There’s really not much more, a couple of poorly positioned safe lights hang from the roof and an assortment of plastic trays sits on the floor under the sink and a shelf above for chemicals, jugs and stuff.

This was my first and last darkroom build, it has its faults, and typically it needs more bench space and a bigger bin. The sink drains poorly and the drain point was put right in the back corner where it’s hard to get at, don’t make that mistake. After all that, I enjoy getting into it and making prints and that’s what it’s all about.

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