The Dark Room

Today, we know photography as something that is accessible to anyone with a phone, digital camera, whatever is convenient. But what about photography that maybe isn’t as simple as touching a button?

I’ve talked about this before in my Diane Arbus post, but it wasn’t until recently that we could take a photo in less than five seconds. It used to take up to seven minutes to capture a single photograph.

Whats the worth in photography?

I think digital photography makes a lot of us take photography for granted. Is there actually worth and effort in a picture you took on your phone? Does Snapchat count as art? Is there any value to photography anymore?

My answer is yes. I think there is beauty in being able to document moments, capturing the now. I think there is thought and skill put into instant photos. That being said there are also a lot of pictures that are not art. Again, it all depends on your definition of art.

Although I appreciate modern photography,  I have found true love in the art of the dark room.
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Manual Photography

The dark room is a place to develop photos taken manually. That’s right. The ol’ roll of Kodak film that you load into the camera, conscious to not expose the actual film to any light, and developing the photos yourself.

The purpose of this blog post is not to teach you how to unnamed-2develop your own photos in the dark room. 1) Lets be realistic, would you actually do it? Probably not. & 2) There are already a million postings on the internet that provide you with a step-by-step process. I think me telling you would be throwing words into an abyss.

Instead I want to talk about why I think it is such a valuable process. Consider this as more of an argument for using the dark room, not a how-to.
Whats so great about the dark room?
First, you’ll appreciate your photos more. The process to manually develop a photograph can take hours. You have to develop the roll, adjust the film, project the photo, develop the photo, time everything perfectly, it’s a lot of work. The payoff is much greater when you have to actually take the time and do it yourself.
Second, you’ll gain technical skills. Not only is developing photos timely, but it requires you to perfect the process. Since you’re working with chemicals everything is very sensitive. Things to pay attention to are temperature of the chemicals, the amouunnamed-1nt of light exposure in the room, aperture, etc.
I think the hardest part of the process is getting the roll of film into the developing canister. It is pitch black in the room, you have to pop the roll of film open with a can opener- in complete darkness, get the film out of the canister without touching it, and roll it onto a spool. The reasoning for the darkness is because you can’t expose the film to light until it is fully developed or else everything will fog over.
Third, you’ll be more relaxed. After the darkness you can use a safe-light to illuminate the room. It emits a soft red glow. I also like to play my music while I’m in the dark room. Wilco is usually the band of choice for this activity. Its not rare to be alone in the dark room so just picture this: you’re working through a set process (its almost mindless once you get the hang of it), there’s a soft red glow illuminating the room, and Jesus Etc. by Wilco is quietly playing.
This is an artistic process that is fading out. I think it holds a lot of value and sentiment and should be more appreciated than it is.
Even if you’re not into photography or you don’t want to go into a dark room, I hope I’ve at least shed some light on why it is something to be appreciated.
All photos are mine.
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Beginners (2010)

screen-shot-2017-01-27-at-11-29-22-amAre we really ever an expert in anything? In reality, there’s always going to be something to learn or learn more about whether it be love, history, foreign film, a language, whatever it may be. When does a person make it past the “beginner stage”, if ever?

What is Beginners (2010)?

In Beginners (2010), a man, after being married for 44 years loses his wife, decides to open up about being gay. After doing so, he starts with the party scene and finds himself in a nonexclusive relationship with a younger man. While all of this is going on, his son struggles to find love.

I watched this movie a few years ago back in high school and the other day I found it on Netflix and decided to watch it again. After a few years of life experience, I finished this movie with what felt like more than I did the last time I watched it.

There’s beauty in this film. It is interesting to watch a person find a piece of
themselves after so many years. The man knew he was gay his entire life but still chose to get married and raise a child. 44 years later and he is living a completely different life. Does he like the new life he has taken on? It is never explicitly disclosed.

Why is this on my blog?

I know what you’re thinking- why am I talking about a movie and beginnings on an art blog?

Well my curious readers, here is a loose definition of what I consider to be art: anything manmade that provokes a feeling, thought, or emotional response. This is why the blog includes studio art, film, music, etc. It is all manmade and has some sort of effect on my soul (and hopefully yours too).

The Beauty of Beginners (2010)

Lets start with the soundtrack. It leans more towards early mid 20th century music- not something you hear too often in modern film. I think the music is meant to bring you back to the youth of the old man who is dying in his 70s but is still doing what he can to experience a new lifestyle. It takes the characters back to the beginning.

screen-shot-2017-01-27-at-11-47-05-amThe aesthetic of the film is also unique. A lot of times cinematographers will choose a loose color palette for a movie to add to the intended overall feel. Beginners (2010) keeps a more muted color palette, using greenish, toned down yellows, browns, off-whites, etc.

The color palette mixed with the early to mid 20th century music makes for a somewhat unexciting theme. However, this is combatted by the blossoming love of the old man’s son and a woman he met at a party. It is an interest contrast.

This is the type of movie that makes you feel calm, warm, sad, excited, all of the feelings.

Lastly I am going to mention the underlying theme of beginnings. I think it is beautiful that this movie encourages new beginnings at any stage of life. It is never too late to start something new.

This movie is currently available on Netflix.

Photos are from IMDB (2010).

Hi, I’m Lauren. What’s your name?

I am a third year college student looking for a place to compile art that I find interesting (arteresting). This blog will not only feature studio art, but also film, photography, music, etc. Art comes in many forms and I want to include as much of it as I can. Consider this to be a hub for all artistic forms.

I am minoring in studio art and art history, which puts me in a position to critically evaluate and discuss different types of art (at a third year college level). I will include both art that I find to be interesting and beautiful and I will also occasionally post some of my own work.

I hope this can be a place for others to interact about personal artistic interests. Another reason I want to publicly post my own interests is to learn about the interests of others. There is more to art than just my own interests.

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