I’m pretty fortunate to be part of an inspiring community of artists here in Rochester, NY. For almost 2 decades, I’ve been taking classes and making work at the Flower City Arts Center, learning various alternative photographic processes, and making friends. Does that seems weird? I’ll bet if you’re a traditional analog photographer who works in your home darkroom, you may often feel (and relish) the isolation of that dark space, which doesn’t feel akin to ‘making friends’…but at the Center, those of us renting the public darkrooms have come to know and respect each other, and we often share our work to get advice and share ideas.
It’s a great creative community, one that I cherish now more than ever, especially in this ‘age’ (it’s only been two months, but it feels longer!) of self isolation.
Prior to coronavirus, the Department of Photography and Digital Arts at the Center created a Darkroom Club. There’s no specific webpage for the club, but there is a Facebook page, and we were meeting once a month for a couple hours to mingle with each other, share our latest work, and brainstorm ideas for exhibits. It was awesome to be able to see everyone’s photos, hear their critiques, ask questions, and in general, feel inspired by each other’s creativity – often in the form of photo books, zines, prints, collages, etc.
Now that we are all staying at home, we’ve had a gap of time with no physical meetings, and I was really missing them. Until just recently, when we started meeting via Zoom! Being able to see everyone’s faces, see their work (either by them holding actual prints in front of their laptop camera, or screen sharing through the app), and chat about what we are doing to stay positive, stay engaged, stay busy, and stay creative has been awesome. Really great.
I believe the Darkroom Club is open to anyone who is an active Community Darkroom user or darkroom enthusiast. (You don’t need to be a member, though most of us are). If this sounds like you, and you are craving some interaction, join us! And if you’re not on Facebook, let me know and I can connect you with the club admin!