Roll #18

I had one last roll of black and white film.

And I had the opportunity to spend one last day in the darkroom. It was past the date for the students to have turned in their print portfolio, and most of them were on a spring field trip. So I jumped at the chance to have the whole darkroom to myself.

But I didn’t have much time. I had to find something to shoot, soup it, dry it, edit it and print it all in a few hours. I was excited. It felt like old times.

So I decided to zip up to a local country market which is sort of a combination of a farmers market and flea/junk market, and blew through the roll as quickly as I could. Then I zipped back to the darkroom.

There were still a few students sloshing some prints around while I was souping the film, but after lunch, I had the whole place to myself.

That’s when the fun came back. I was working as quickly as I could.  I was running two enlargers at once. I’d have a test print going on one as I was dodging and burning a final print on another.  There were prints floating around in all the chemistry baths.  I was dancing and spinning around to the music of the water trickling from the final wash.

In about an hour and a half, I slammed out a contact sheet and 5 acceptable prints. These are my favorites from my fun day.

I confess to having a weird fascination with mannequins.  Especially when they’re all lined up like beauty pageant contestants.  I mean, this is weird, right?

Since I’m a woman, I guess I’ll never get to go in there and see for myself what lies beyond the door to this mysterious room.

Yes, the fun came back.  And it was bittersweet.

Before this experiment, I hadn’t been in a darkroom for about 10 years.  And after this, I might never get to be in a darkroom again, unless I build one myself.  It might have been easier to say goodbye when I was still angry and frustrated with it.  But I guess it’s better to continue on with the memory of the darkroom like that of a friend who you love, but you never get to see anymore.


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