Sunday, October 07, 2012

The Darkroom is Complete!

Here it is!  This finished darkroom.  The final touches were stapling the internet cable along the bottom of the wall and filling in the light leak from the hole it came through and a few smaller light leaks that remained around the windows.  I discovered when light directly hit the side of the house the foam board actually became semi-translucent when your eyes adjusted to the dark, so we ended up having to put some of the ram board we bought for the floor over the foam board, and then just for good measure put some foil tape around the perimeter just to make sure absolutely no light would creep in.  I mixed the developer and fixer in two tupperware like pitchers with airtight seals, which I believe should be safe enough for the chemicals.  The one Patterson safelight that I bought isn't quite strong enough to give me enough light to work in, so I'm going to hit up a photo supply store out in Houston for a bulb that I can put into a standard lamp, which should give me the illumination I need.

 We ended up having to reverse the swing of the door into the room because it was too difficult to come in and out without disturbing the curtains, which was a light leak threat.  This way you are able to open the door, step into the light lock, close the door behind you, and then go through the curtains.
And here is my first attempt at photogramming!  For whatever reason, either proximity to the light or the intensity of the bulb, the paper seems to be ultra sensitive.  My first attempts at doing exposure strip tests at 1 second intervals produced completely black strips.  This image was created literally turning the lamp on and off almost instantaneously.  I think tomorrow I'm going to go back to Home Depot and get a much smaller bulb at the lowest wattage I can find and test that out to see if I can get a little more flexibility with the timing.  I created the image using my hand and shreds of a plastic Walmart bag, and painting the developer onto standard photo paper.  Because the paper has such a high gloss, the developer tended to pool in little puddles, which is where the white holes in the image come from.  Also, a bit of a happy accident, the words printed on the bag just happened to appear directly parallel to my arm.  There is something very appealing about that in combination with the form of a hand grasping through the silhouettes of the plastic bags...I think I'll explore some of that later.

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