Yesterday I spent in the darkroom and I have to say, it was absolutely delicious! I never get to print anymore. I think the last time I was really spending time printing regularly was getting all the images ready for Handcrafted Modern to go to the printer - I printed quite a few of the prints myself. But since then, it is computersville.
I spend a lot of time with creative people in their spaces while they are working. My friend Maria Moyer lets me just sit with her as she makes breathlessly beautiful things out of porcelain and T1. I can sit there for hours. I realized while working yesterday that the darkroom is my equivalent to maria's pottery studio. It is my happy place. I love everything about it. I love having to feel around for the focusing aid and cutting RA paper in the pitch blackness and the smell of the chemicals and paper. I love having to announce myself in the darkness to make sure I don't bump into anyone and other odd bits of darkroom etiquette. Hell, I even love bumping into people in the dark! It is always so weirdly startling and awkward. And how sublime is it to have to do everything by feel because you are in the darkness. It is primal somehow. You are working without one of your senses - an odd and ironic fact considering that photography is all about seeing! When I work long enough in the dark, I love how I start to be able to see just fine. My eyes adjust and I fancy myself some nocturnal creature, like an owl. All these wonderful things don't exist when you are working at a computer. Don't get me wrong, there are great benefits to shooting digital. But all these weird, eccentric, slightly archaic rituals aren't there. Yesterday I was reveling in them and the joy that they bring me. A really good day.