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Submitted on
January 21, 2013
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20 (who?)
On dA, the galleries for Darkroom Photography are split into two categories - Digital and Traditional.

Digital Darkroom is for Photographs which have been digitally processed or edited with the use of computer software to emulate traditional and alternative film darkroom techniques.

La chica del metro by ensilencio

Traditional Darkroom is for Scans of photographic prints and negatives where the images have been physically developed and/or printed using traditional and alternative film darkroom techniques. This gallery is not for digitally created or edited images.

alternate ending by LostOneself

It seems like an obvious difference, right? How much further explaining really needs to be done? Well, just a little, because there are a few exceptions to what you might assume to be hard and fast rules.

The Rule

Photos created with the involvement of a digital camera should never be placed in Darkroom > Traditional.

The Exception

While photos taken with a digital camera and posted straight-out-of-camera or after being processed with computer software should NEVER be placed in Darkroom > Traditional, it is acceptable to submit darkroom prints created with digital negatives to this gallery. A digital negative is created from a print of a digital photograph on paper or transparent material and can be used to make a contact print, usually with alternative processes like cyanotypes or liquid light.

Holy Death cyanotype by mrabanal
This cyanotype was created using a digital negative.

The Rule

Camera data should never appear on the deviation page of a traditional darkroom photo.

The Exception

Not everyone has access to a scanner, so people often have to take a digital photograph of their traditional darkroom print or Polaroid photo to submit it to dA. This will result in camera data appearing on the deviation page of a traditional darkroom photo. It doesn't stop it from belonging in Darkroom > Traditional. It just means that a camera, rather than a scanner, was used to digitise the image for submission to dA. Some scanner data will also show up as Camera Data on dA.

Extra portrait by AustinE15
This traditional darkroom print was photographed with a digital camera to digitise it for submission to dA.

Self portrait with wet collodion process by elultimodeseo
This traditional darkroom piece has scanner data showing up in the Camera Data section on the deviation page.

The Rule

Photos shot on film should always be submitted to Darkroom > Traditional.

The Exception
While film photos generally belong in the traditional darkroom category, if you have used computer software to edit your film photo (obviously apart from digitising it to submit to dA), it belongs in Darkroom > Digital. While an extremely minimal amount of editing is acceptable for the sole purpose of making your digitised image more closely resemble the physical print (sometimes scanning or photographing a physical print can slightly alter the colours or contrast), ANY further digital editing, like using Photoshop Actions, textures or turning a colour photo monochrome, means that the resulting image belongs in Darkroom > Digital, NOT Darkroom > Traditional.

Sky pass by BobRock99
This photograph was shot on film and edited using computer software.

When it looks like film but isn't film

It is also worth noting that digital images edited to look like film images (for example, using Photoshop editing to create Holga-like light leak effects or adding a Polaroid-style frame to a digital photo) DO NOT belong in Darkroom > Traditional!

This digital photo has had light textures added, so it's happily at home in Darkroom > Digital

Correct categorisation and Daily Deviations

When submitting your work to Photography > Darkroom, it is definitely worth making sure that you've chosen correctly between the Digital and Traditional galleries because it will aid the chances of your work being featured as a Daily Deviation and also in darkroom feature journals. I browse literally every submission to the Darkroom gallery in my on-going hunt for awesome art to feature and if there's any doubt about the category a photo is submitted to, I won't feature it, however amazing it might look.

books for sale by noxpop
While browsing Darkroom > Traditional > Instant Film looking for photos to feature, I found this one, in exactly the right place.

Use Artist's Comments to your advantage

If you use a digital camera, rather than a scanner, to digitise your traditional darkroom prints for dA, it is definitely worth mentioning this in the Artist's Comments for those pictures! You might also want to consider including in your comments the camera and film that you used for your traditional darkroom photos, some information about the materials and techniques used in your alt processes images or the equipment and software used for your digital darkroom photos.

Inclination by IvanAndreevich
Check out the detailed Artist's Comments for this picture. You can find out where it was taken, along with the camera, lens and filter used, and the software used to process the photo.

Add a Comment:
exoRICE Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2013   Interface Designer
Another useful article! I would really love to try darkroom photography when II'm free :)
RockstarVanity Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2013
Thanks :aww:
slephoto Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Good info
danydiniz Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Although I am not a photographer myself, I always wonder what the category Darkroom was really about. Thank you for making this article clarifying the subject! I truly believe it will be very helpful! :aww:
RockstarVanity Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2013
This is only a tiny part of it. There's a Darkroom Articles link at the side of the journal with loads more, if you're interested :aww:
danydiniz Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I see. Thank you, I might read them later. :aww:
GeminiArtNStock Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2013  Professional General Artist
i do more digital darkroom than that of general photography
ArtByCher Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2013   Traditional Artist
Great article Tanya!
RockstarVanity Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2013
Thank you :hug:
mrabanal Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2013
Thanks for using my cyanotype. My opinion: life's too short...
Add a Comment: