In a Digital Era, the Darkroom Is Fading as a Photographic Hub
By GLENN COLLINS
n the tradition of the Rolodex, the vacuum tube and the roll-film
camera, the communal darkroom - a Manhattan institution that has long
sustained a subculture of professional photographers and print-making
artists - is yielding to the digital imperative.
After 17 years, the Latent Image Workshop Inc., with its 23
rent-by-the-hour darkrooms, will close its doors by the end of the
month. Other rental workshops are losing business or scrambling to
upgrade their digital services to survive.
To regulars who practically lived at Latent Image, this imminent
shuttering marks the end of an era.
"For 150 years, photography remained pretty essentially the same, and
the darkroom was a critical part of it all," said Jessica Burstein,
who, as photographer for the various "Law and Order" television series
since 1994, printed all her pictures and title shots at Latent Image.
But now, thanks to digital technology, "we are at the last generation
of film photographers," she said.