Detroit Performs

S10 E5 | CLIP

Darkroom Detroit

Darkroom Detroit is making the art of photography accessible to the citizens of Detroit.

AIRED: June 08, 2020 | 0:04:44

- As a nonprofit community organization,

giving the community access to cameras

is really important so people who are in the neighborhood

can stop by and check out a

you know Canon AE1 which is a great camera to learn on

and can come in and check it out for a week,

it actually costs nothing.

There's no money involved in that.

We loan those cameras out

with the hopes that people are discovering

a new art form or brushing up

on an old art form and they can come in

and borrow a camera, we'll show you how

to load the film, we regularly hold classes

that teach people how to process black and white film.

We have the facilities here for people

to do that themselves as well as make prints.

So you know giving access to the community

for sort of that whole spectrum of being

interested in something

all the way to creating a body of work

that makes them feel good about that journey

is really important to us.

We have a really great membership base.

Our membership base is currently

sitting around 100 people.

To be able to build a community of photographers

who are all sort of interested in the same thing

and then finding out beyond that

how we can all connect is really

important work for us.

Even now as sort of new as a lot of digital media is

and the way we consume imagery, I think

even younger people are starting to feel

that disconnection between their work

and how it's being made, and how it's being viewed

and there is some more importance

being put onto being able to physically

touch that and especially with things like

a print swap, you know it's a really great way

to interact with your community

with your fellow photographers,

fellow artists on this journey of making these

sort of very defined decisions on wanting to

you know create work in a specific way.

How can we facilitate that

and a lot of times it comes down

to something as simple as having access to film.

We are kind of far removed from the era of film.

Those things are hard to come by

and as we're seeing this resurgence or we're seeing

more and more access coming to

not just the artists but the people

who support them so I think yeah

it's a great thing happening for younger artists.

And the great thing about film photography

is the patience that is inherent

in the art form right, so having to be limited by

how many exposures you have on a roll of film

or what ISO your film is

and how it works in

certain lighting conditions

all those things help photographers

develop a style and develop a workflow.

And film's really great 'cause it has

all those things built into it

so we've had some gallery walkthroughs

of shows that have been up around the city,

photo walks trying to bring in people

to talk to our members about things

that are important to them,

sometimes it's about ensuring the equipment.

Sometimes it's about what you know

legal ramifications you might have

if you're shooting somewhere in public.

We've done really great architectural photo walks,

things that our members say these are things

that are important to us, that we like

and being able to facilitate that to them

in a way that is sort of you know

impactful but not impossible

for us to do on a regular basis

so as a community organization

we recognize that an important

part of interacting with our community

is interacting with its youth

so being able to offer youth classes

and workshops and working with other

organizations in our community is really important to us.

So in the past year we've partnered

with a few organizations, Capturing Belief,

as well as the Downtown Boxing Gym

and finding organizations

that have access to youth that want to learn

how to make images is really great.

So for us to be able to go in there

with you know five or six cameras

and find kids that really want to learn

and teach them from the basics

all the way to printing work and having

an exhibition of that work is a really great

for building a generation of

a new generation of you know Detroit photographers.


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