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Submitted on
October 27, 2012
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Why is that a Daily Deviation?

Sat Oct 27, 2012, 12:34 AM
Having read the title, you're probably expecting this to be a journal filled with familiar information about what to do when you see a Daily Deviation that you don't believe to be worthy of a feature, or impassioned reminders about the subjectivity of art. That isn't what this is about.

Being the Community Volunteer for a niche gallery like Darkroom has been quite an experience so far. I receive comparatively few Daily Deviation suggestions, so I devote a lot of time to hunting down amazing photographs to feature and making sure that I represent as many aspects of the category as possible.

The Darkroom Photography gallery is full of images created using intriguing historical and modern techniques that many people aren't aware of, or have seen or heard of but don't know much about. Part of my role as a Community Volunteer is to promote these techniques and the artists who use them, showing the incredible range of effects which can be created using photographic materials and systems, both digital and traditional.

Within that one small gallery, there is huge variety. You'll see life-size reverse silhouettes on bedsheets soaked in photographic chemicals, images developed on sheets of glass painted with light-sensitive liquid, scans of film exposed inside home-made cameras built from biscuit tins, photos made from 7 different exposures of the same scene combined to look almost like paintings, pictures on instant film that transport your mind back to when Polaroid was at the forefront of photographic technology, stunningly textured images compiled in digital editing software to create a result that you can almost feel through your screen, monochrome photographs captured on film with 50 year old cameras...and the list goes on.

Because the Darkroom gallery is technique-based rather than subject-based, you'll also find a dizzying array of people, places and things which span genres and styles from horror to fetish to nature to fashion to still life to street photography and everything in between.  The limit exists only in the minds of the artists who submit to the gallery, and having spent months browsing it on an almost daily basis, I can tell you there is a lot of imagination and creativity going on in there.

Experimentation is a huge part of darkroom photography. Often, photographers create pieces with unrepeatable results, truly unique photographs which cannot be replicated. A lot of the time, an artist's expertise shows most strikingly in their choice of materials - which chemicals to tone a cyanotype with, or which instant film to use to precisely create a particular mood. Some of the most valuable experiences I've had as a photographer have come from the magic and joy of working with techniques and materials developed (pun fully intended) over a hundred years ago, and these experiences continue to strongly influence the work I create today using digital methods.

Whether an photographer chooses to work with chemicals or computers, there is a sense of mystery and excitement surrounding darkroom photography. It is an astoundingly inspirational world, so whether you choose to live there, visit occasionally or just look at the postcards other artists send, make sure you take some time to enjoy the scenery with your mind open as wide as your eyes.

If you have a favourite darkroom photograph (your own or someone else's) that you would like to suggest as a Daily Deviation, you can find my detailed DD suggestion guidelines here.


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:iconthiefoworld:
Thiefoworld Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2012
I can imagine Darkroom photography must be one of those categories often misunderstood and underappreciated, I guess most people expect Photography to be just about gorgeous models or beautiful landscapes, and it's not like those are wrong or aren't great, but Darkroom has their own beauty. I love what you said about experimentation and unrepeatable results, I never thought about it, but now is something I find fascinating about it :)
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:iconrockstarvanity:
RockstarVanity Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2012  Professional Photographer
I do think a lot of the time people expect all photography to be kind of similar and don't realise just how much variation there can be in that medium :)
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:iconastrikos:
Astrikos Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2012   General Artist
Well said. :nod:
Wonderful article. :la:
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:iconrockstarvanity:
RockstarVanity Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2012  Professional Photographer
Thank you :hug:
I've been meaning to write something like this for ages and felt inspired yesterday.
Reply
:iconastrikos:
Astrikos Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2012   General Artist
It's awesome when that happens.
It was a wonderful read. :happybounce:
Reply
:iconfatally3103:
Fatally3103 Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Perfectly worded :heart:
This is why I love photography--it's a magical force
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:iconrockstarvanity:
RockstarVanity Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2012  Professional Photographer
Definitely :nod:
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:iconcrystalmagicsoul:
crystalmagicsoul Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2012
Ah, This finally got me motivated to browse through the darkroom category. ^^; I've been meaning too since I wanted to take the photography class we have at my school. Only I didn't know until recently that it wasn't digital and we actually have two darkrooms in our school :P
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:iconrockstarvanity:
RockstarVanity Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2012  Professional Photographer
We had amazing darkrooms at college and then they closed the colour one after my first year. I was gutted cause I'd gotten really into doing my own colour printing. The black and white ones were awesome though, and absolutely huge. Many happy hours spent in there...and developing cyanotypes under a sunbed :D
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:iconcrystalmagicsoul:
crystalmagicsoul Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2012
I have a friend taking it now and it sounds really fun, but I can't take it this year since my schedule is filled xD and next year our high school is combining with another school so we might not have it then :I
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