Show Us Your Darkroom #11: Richard White
My darkroom is definitely my sanctuary. My escape sometimes into a world of creativity. A refuge. For anyone who has never been in one they may think me a little crazy. They may think that I have been drinking the fixer. And those in the know, know that that would fix the drinker. What is it about the darkroom that makes it such a joy for those who make it their practice?
My first darkroom, like so many, was my laundry. I made up panels to darken the windows and the door. I sat my enlarger on top of the washing machine (after the cycle had finished) and cleared the bench top for my trays. My first prints were appalling and I still have some. I thought them to be ok. I only know now how bad they were after many years of printing.
When I moved to Mansfield I was determined to have a purpose built darkroom and even before I finished my house I had it up and running. Over the years it hasn’t changed much except my original enlarger which I bought to celebrate the Mansfield opening had off spring and I now own 4 enlargers. Three I use and one sits outside waiting for its turn to strut its stuff.
I have taught classes in there, and still do, and have even been known to just sit in there endeavouring to find inspiration for something that is troubling me.
To turn off the lights, close the door and complete the final stage of making an image is a joy and only understood by those who have ventured into this hallowed space.
I can print up to 20 x 24 prints and could go bigger if the sheet sizes were made, but then I would have a problem with trays. My preferred size is 11 x 14 with 20 x 16 coming second. My darkroom is about 7 metres long and 3 metres wide. The ceiling height is 2650mm. Important for 10 x 8 enlarger I don’t yet have.
In the old days when I was doing darkroom demonstrations I would fit about 10 people in there, but nowadays I only have a max of 4. You might say it is a bit more comfortable. It’s a great space and something I would take with me if I ever moved.