New book: Photographic Darkrooms/Photographic Obsolescence
by Michel Cameau
Published by Kehrer
Since 2003, Canadian photographer Michel Campeau travels the world to photograph darkrooms. Toronto, Mexico City, Havana, Paris, Brussels, Berlin, Niamey, Ho Chi Minh City and Tokyo were stops to record these chambers of analog photography. Technological progress makes these rooms, where icons of picture making once were crafted through the use of chemicals on silver gelatin paper, obsolete. Today they seem like allusions to a time long gone.
Campeau highly appreciates these historical places. He regards their fate as an important means to bring attention to the influence of globalisation and proceeding digital revolution on culture industry. However, he also refers to the thus visible regional standards of photography, which are, as he points out, not as universal and ethnocentristic as the Western world may perceive them to be. His Photographic Darkrooms are evidence for that.
Martin Parr, who published some of the work in an editorial series wrote about it:
Most photographers have spent hours and days in that peculiar environment known as the darkroom. Here, prints are magically created using chemicals and light. Campeau’s photographs show the passing of an era. As digital production takes hold to a greater and greater extent, we will look back at these images and mourn the darkroom’s passing.