Community Darkroom of Akron offers resources for aspiring and pro photographers August 19th, 2020 by Zaïré Talon Daniels Photography has evolved dramatically since the invention of the camera in the 19th century. Cameras are now so important to us that they have been shrunk and placed in our cell phones so we can carry them in our pockets. Although we have seen great advances in camera technology, many people continue to explore and refine the traditional method: Film photography. Founded in 2018 by Joe Dagostino, the Community Darkroom of Akron offers a space for local artists to develop their own film. Unlike digital photography, film photography needs to be done under special requirements to ensure that film will be exposed properly. Acquiring the materials to make your own darkroom can be costly. Read more: Need a lemonade fix? Visit Ellet’s 4 Bros and a SisNorth Hill pop-up restaurant will feature new cuisine every week Dagostino had this vision for a community darkroom two years ago. “I had a career [in graphic design] and I wasn’t too happy, so I decided to take the jump and try something different,” Dagostitno says. “I was doing a lot of art shows and talking with fellow artists, whether it was high school or college, they expressed their desire to return to the darkroom. So I said, ‘Let’s start one up!’” Dagostino’s first step was collecting enlargers and other equipment needed for darkroom film development. Much of the equipment came from local photographers in the Akron area who had darkrooms set up in their homes. For those who are comfortable developing film, the Community Darkroom works as a studio where members can come in and work based on the posted times. The Community Darkroom of Akron also sells finished, loose, matted, and framed prints. Memberships start at $10 per month for students and $20 per month for nonstudents. The Community Darkroom of Akron also serves as a classroom. “If you’ve never picked up a camera, we start off with camera and shooting basics, [like] how to expose film properly,” Dagostino says. “We go out and take photos. In week two we develop the film, week three we work with the enlargers and make contact sheets, and week four we make final prints.” This summer, the Community Darkroom was planning on inviting youth to summer camps to the darkroom to teach them about the art form of film photography. Because of COVID-19, the Community Darkroom of Akron has reformulated their goals and now seeks to offer programming in partnership with Akron Public Schools. “One of the goals I’ve always had for the Community Darkroom is to run a program with Akron [Public] Schools, a grant or a corporate sponsorship to supply everything for the kids so there is no out-of-pocket cost for them,” Dagostino says. The finished product of the roll of film I brought into the Community Darkroom of Akron to develop.Joe Dagostino and his son, Oliver, cut the developed film to put in a protective plastic sleeve. After the stop bath, the film becomes visible.Some of the materials required to get the film from the canister to begin the development process.Joe and Oliver Dagostino stand in front of one of Joe’s prints and a photo enlarger machine. As a photographer myself, working in film can perfect your skills with a camera. The hands-on atmosphere gives you more control than when developing images digitally. I recall my first time in the darkroom at the University of Akron: When you first dip your print into the chemicals and see the image appear, it’s just like magic. A detailed list of membership prices, the location of the darkroom, and print for sale can be found on their website at https://communitydarkroomofakron.com/. Zaïré Talon Daniels is a recent graduate of the University of Akron and a summer intern at The Devil Strip. Tell your friends:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Like this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYour email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.