Show Us Your Darkroom #10: Danica Chappell


In the colour darkroom

My darkroom is where I make colour and it is dark in every sense of the word. 


It’s a space that I climb into and seal out the light with Velcro and garden plastic.

When every inch is consumed by black, time unfolds and I begin to make. This is the beginning of the darkroom haptic, the negotiation, of what is flexible and what is not between object and body, time and chemistry. 


Over long sessions in my darkroom I test colour, form and time. Each final composition renders material vastly different from its physical state. Testing in colour could be likened to practicing scales on a musical instrument. Initially I base my starting point on tactile possibilities, stepping across time, I incrementally refine my colour selection. The tests I make in the darkroom define how I will shape my final score.

The cadence is set and the measure of endurance begins.

Time (not passed or wished for), is very present and experienced in steps and lengths by my reach. Over time, and in the blackness I choreograph the track for counting of the steps and the lengths that my body will need to reach.  Slowly the muscle retains a memory for the movements to the score. The score is written by light and time, from either delicate fingertip touches or by the force of my full body; an entanglement ensues.


In the jostle, time mostly balances chaos and order. 

What I make during my time in the dark questions perception by gently nudging at the elastic boundaries of the medium.  I embrace time to be autonomous, to suggest possibilities for the photograph from an understanding of the histories and technologies that are evolving and that have preceded. My time in the darkroom blends these with what I see.


Danica Chappell

Danica’s photographs are currently on exhibition at Caves Gallery, Melbourne