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