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Photographer Documents Diminishing Darkrooms Around the World

Michel_Campeau_Photography

My project, built on an observation of the decline of silver-based photography, took as its central object the darkroom, rapidly deserted because of the phenomenal growth in computer technologies. Both an actor in and a witness of this pivotal period in the history of art and photography, caught between analogue and digital processes, I wished to record the iconic nature of these post-industrial ruins and the remains strewn among them.—Michael Campeau

Since 2003, Canadian photographer Michel Campeau has traveled all over the world to document the last of the photographic darkrooms. Toronto, Havana, Paris, Berlin and Ho Chi Minh City are just some of the cities Campeau has traveled to, seeking out what he feels are historic and dying spaces. As digital technologies rapidly take over analog, Campeau’s book of darkrooms act as both an artifact and a memorial of a disappearing tradition. Photographic Darkroom reveals that no matter where in the world, photographers have gathered in nearly identical spaces for decades, all to witness the magic that happens in the chemistry when the lights are shut off.

Michel_Campeau_Photography

Michel_Campeau_Photography

Michel_Campeau_Photography

Michel_Campeau_Photography

Michel_Campeau_Photography

Michel_Campeau_Photography

Michel_Campeau_Photography

Michel_Campeau_Photography

Michel_Campeau_Photography

This post was contributed by photographer and Feature Shoot Editorial Assistant Jenna Garrett.

  • Dan

    So it looks like Michael started a project that would clearly for tell the story of a method of arriving at a photograph that will surely die. But the problem is, he is documenting spaces that are dead, not the revival of the darkroom among fine artist photographer, commercial photographers who want to do personal work on film and believe it or not Michael…young people and lots of them to that end. I can imagine that Michael does not want to hear that photographers like me who have used digital professionally for 21 years are dumping it for good in favor of a black and white fine art darkroom. And I can also imagine that Michael does not want to hear that Freestyle Photo’s film and paper sales are at the highest level seen in years. And finally, I wonder if Michael has heard of a clever new indie film called “Long Live Film”, who’s cast of interviewed photographers are all YOUNG people. Probably not, it’s just easier to be predictable and go where the hype engine of the digital garbage heap tells you to go next. You missed the shot Michael, it is not the empty spaces with sullen artifacts, it is the uprising of darkrooms that are leading the niche that is film.

  • http://500px.com/kombizz kombizz

    I enjoyed this article. Of course many photographers still use films rather than DSLR. Perhaps the main reason would be the high cost of a good DSLR or other reasons.
    I still use my Minolta Dynax 7 in spite of being in digital era, as I do not have saving to purchase a good camera.
    Thank you for sharing.
    God bless
    kombizz