Darkroom

3 March 2019

It’s all about timing.

I’m not usually punctual; I show up to class five minutes late with my hair still damp, notice the clock reads 12:00pm as I settle in to tackle my homework. In general, I am lagging behind; my mind wanders aimlessly as I throw the constrictions of time out the window. Here, I am different. In the split-second of darkness before my eyes to adjust to the safe-light, my mind switches gears. From whimsical to focused, my mind prepares to undertake the negative; I cannot do so without the help of time. It’s all in the exposure, how long I decide to shine light on this negative, how many seconds it will take for the blacks to become white, and the whites to become black. It is vital to get the developing process right; if the film is left in the chemical too long, it will become black.

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The darkroom is where my mind feels at ease.The only audible sounds are the faint hum of the light hanging overhead, and the faucet running to wash away the chemicals on the developed photograph. A thick black curtain separates the tranquil room from the chaos outside it. Time slows down here. As I dip the lustrous paper into the developer, a faint image appears. It is the magic of this moment that got me involved in photography in the first place; the fact that I can create something from a blank sheet of paper.

The darkroom is more than a place to develop photos, it’s a state of mind. In life, the positives and negatives are both vital. Without the negatives, there can be no positives. In order to have the full picture, you need both black and white. It may take a whole process to see that, and here in the darkroom, you have all the time you need.

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