What is Traditional Darkroom?
Traditional Darkroom is where it all began. It started in a world where the word 'photography' didn't yet exist and the art of creating images of reality with light and chemicals sat somewhere between science and magic. Did you know that the mathematicians Aristotle and Euclid describe pinhole cameras in the 4th and 5th centuries?
In the early 1800s, artist/inventors like Louis Dageurre and Henry Fox Talbot (among others) experimented with ways of fixing images using chemicals, including silver compounds, following exposures on materials like glass and metal, lasting from several minutes to several hours. By 1840, Talbot was creating negative images using the calotype process and John Herschel had invented the cyanotype process (where the term 'blueprint' comes from) and created the first glass negative in 1839.
In the middle part of the 1800s, the wet plate collodion process became popular, followed by dry plate. This involved printing images on plates of different materials, including ambrotype (positive image on glass), ferrotype or tintype (positive image on metal) and the negative (printed on albumen or salt paper). In the 1880s, George Eastman developed film as a replacement for plates, and this is technology is still used in film cameras today.
In the early 1900s, the Nobel Prize for Physics was won by Gabriel Lippman...for reproducing colours photographically! Proof that art and science are two sides of the same coin.
Modern photography was originally monochrome, with black and white remaining popular even after colour photographic materials became more widely available in the 1930s. Photography wasn't just for the rich (or the scientists!) any more. As time passed, it became more and more accessible to everyone, from artists to journalists to people wanting to capture their favourite family moments (apart from a wartime blip when photographic equipment was very difficult to get hold of by the general public).
Polaroid's famous instant film, which contained all the chemicals needed to provide a developed and fixed colour print directly from the camera in minutes, was introduced in the 1960s and opened up a whole new world of photography-for-fun.
You might be surprised to hear that most of the materials and processes described here are still in use by devoted photography enthusiasts and, as the examples above show, can be seen right here on dA!