Darkroom Course

*Update June 2022: A change to the full course in a modular format, so that you can choose from the individual core sessions ie Modules 2 and 3 as described below or cover them all in sequence over a period of time. Sessions will be 2.5 hours long, and will take place on weekday nights, according to demand. The content of Module 1 will be included alongside the others, as and when appropriate.

*Full day long darkroom courses, as described below, will still take place, although less frequently than they have done – Saturdays with a young family when we both work full-time are precious! The full course, booked on one day, or over 2 evening sessions, will also include a bonus 3 hours in the darkroom to practice, bookable on another occasion, to encourage participants to practice new skills fresh!

The 3 modules, as described in more detail below, are:
– Module 1: Analogue cameras and fundamental principles of photography – including a large format ‘instant-ish‘ portrait shoot as an introduction to the analogue process;
– Module 2: Developing B+W film to produce negatives;
– Module 3: Introduction to analogue printing from B+W negatives.

“When you photograph people in color, you photograph their clothes. But when you photograph people in Black and white, you photograph their souls!”

Ted Grant

There is a magic, under the alchemical red light, to seeing your first print fading in from white, in the quiet of the darkroom. The process, especially for those used to mobile and digital image making and sharing, can be a revelation also for the refinement its pace and craft brings to your photography, how its constraints make you think slower, look closer and value your images more: you will have made them – no algorithms involved.

This course is a comprehensive introduction to traditional analogue black and white photography, designed to equip participants to work in a darkroom to produce high quality negatives and prints. It is suitable for novices, those with digital photographic experience, and photographers wanting to consolidate or refresh their knowledge or practice. With 20 years experience leading photographic workshops your tutor will cover all the fundamental technical and practical aspects of traditional silver based darkroom practice.

Course Structure

Module 1 10.00 to 12.00: Principles of exposure review, depending on prior knowledge and experience (shutter speed, aperture, ISO), loading film, focus, and general camera operation over a range of analogue film formats: 35mm, medium format (6×6, 6×7) and large format (5×4”). Large format ‘instant-ish‘ portrait shoot as an introduction to the analogue process.

Bring your own camera or borrow one by arrangement. All materials and other equipment provided.

Guided shoot of a roll of film per person, over lunch break.

Module 2 1-3.30pm : Developing your film to make negatives: all aspects of choice and mixing of chemicals, development control, push/pull, small tank processing; film drying and storage. 

Module 3 3.30-6pm: Introduction to analogue printing. Working safely in the darkroom, use and management of printing chemicals, photographic paper types. Use of a range of enlargers (Durst, Omega, De Vere) to make high quality prints.

Making contact sheets and final / work prints. Multigrade filters and contrast manipulation. 

Participants will make their own prints to take away, working from the beginning to the end of the process. On completing the course, participants will be able to work independently in this, or any other darkroom. Each participant can book 3 free hours of darkroom time here, to practice what they’ve learned, with remote or in person support from Dan.

Prerequisites

Complete novice photographers, those with some previous photographic knowledge to professional digital practitioners who want to expand their traditional process knowledge. A 35mm or medium format camera (loan cameras available subject to availability). For evening Module 2 – Film Development, please bring an exposed B+W film to process (not XP2 or other C-41 process B+W film!) For Module 3, please bring B+W negatives to print.

Practical information

Saturday 10am-6pm. The course will take place at Darkroom Birmingham, at The Old Print Works, 506 Moseley Road, Balsall Heath, Birmingham. 15 mins bus ride from New Street Station, 50 bus route A435. Parking / The Mix Cafe / international restaurants nearby / 10 mins walk to Moseley Village / Ladypool Road.

Tutor

Dan Burwood is an artist, photographer and educator with 20 years experience leading photographic workshops. Dan established Darkroom Birmingham in 2012 and has run a wide range projects since, including community photography training, exhibitions and analogue and digital tuition. 

Course dates

Saturdays:
25th June, further dates TBC

Thursday nights every other week
7 – 9.30

From Mid June ’22 – dates TBC
– 2 booking together will fix a date –
*pending a booking calendar!

Payment details and terms

 

Full course – 3 modules booked together taken either on a single Saturday, or over 3 evenings:
£95 to include camera loan if needed and all materials / chemicals.£75 concessions (student/ UC/ OAP)
2 modules £75 / 1 module £40
Please specify which module when booking.
1-1 tuition available by arrangement £35/hour

Maximum participants for each session: 5, minimum 3
£50 deposit to reserve a full day place, balance due on attending.
Gift vouchers – on a hand print by Dan Burwood – available, for individual modules or whole courses.

To book, or for further information, email info@darkroombirmingham.co.uk, or message Dan on 07779159217 with the following information:
– Name of course participant/s
– Date of course booking
– Concessions / discounts on booking
– Deposit or full payment
– Mobile phone number for payment link