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I understand everything that has been said in favor of the digital, and I
will be incorporating a course next year, yet I can't give up the darkroom.
I have 11 sections of Photo that average about 25 students per section.
Since only 11th and 12th grade can take the class I figure it's about 18% of
those classes that are taking photo. It's the most popular art class in our
I'd hate to take away "the magic" of the darkroom. I have literally
processed over a million rolls of film myself (I used to be in a business)
and still, every time I open the tank I am amazed that there are images
there. I see that delight on the kids faces and I don't think a computer
can do that. One can do all kinds of amazing things on the computer without
understanding the process, but my photo students understand the processes of
the darkroom. I give them some very tough masking and multiple image print
problems and they struggle and work very hard to accomplish their
objectives. And I find, because of that struggle they understand the
layering and masking in Photoshop much better.
I also love the cooperation I see in the darkroom. I sometimes have classes
of 30+ and only 10 enlargers. They have to share time and equipment, they
have to have things scheduled to meet deadlines, and they have to help each
other. I know all about group activities on the computer, but it's not the
There are large groups of photographers returning to the old processes and
using "junk" cameras, I think in reaction to the computer. I love the Holga
camera and the "accidents" it produces. The kids love the alternative
processes and I brought in my 4x5 so we can do Polaroid transfers.
I know the darkroom for some is a "dinosaur," but I can't give up the
delight. I just don't think the students will feel the same sense of
accomplishment on the computer that I sense coming out of the darkroom. The
computer is just another tool. Would any of you completely throw out your
pencils and paints in favor of Painter or Corel Draw?
Just my two cents,
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