Tokyo Darkroom Style 3
Giovanni Pascarella, a postdoc researcher arrived in Japan in 2010 and when not investigating on the effect of neurodegeneration on DNA in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases spends his spare time making photographs. Recently, he has began printing in the darkroom. He tells us that…
As you can see it’s a very minimal set-up, both for space constraints and because I just started printing a few months ago and being a beginner my needs in terms of equipment are low. Around my enlarger I have a timer, contrast filters, some improvised tools for dodging and burning, and a speaker to fill my printing sessions with some good tunes (lately it’s mostly Mogwai and other post-rock bands).
Before making the commitment to purchase this equipment I wondered for some time whether it wasn’t just better to rent one of the darkrooms available around Tokyo or Yokohama. But in the end I decided to go with my own darkroom mainly because of convenience: I can print whenever I want and it takes only 10-15 minutes to prepare everything. However I’ve found that I need to be fresh and relaxed in order to produce good results. Therefore I print only on the weekends. I got most of the equipment from Yahoo Auction Japan. With a bit of luck you can find some very good deals there for darkroom stuff…the enlarger itself cost me just 2.000 yen! (about $20 USD)
I’m currently reading and studying a lot about basic printing techniques. It’s been quite a relief to discover that Internet is still a very powerful resource for darkroom learning material, and there are several active forums focused on traditional photography from which it’s easy to get answers for even the most detailed questions in a short time. Classic books from master printers are also readily available on Amazon, most of the times second-hand and for very reasonable prices.
Getting into printing has been the best things that happened to my photography since going back to my film roots last year, and I actually have to thank you, Jesse and the other people from the community for encouraging me to do so (even a few words sometimes can be a powerful primer). My awareness of light and composition are greatly benefiting from this experience and although the process of shaping a photograph from my mind on the paper can be frustrating at times (well, most of the time) having in my hands the final print always fully repays me of everything.
I think that he’s on to something with that last line. Prints do indeed seem to have an intrinsic value that makes all the investments of money, time, and effort worth it in the end.