Photography used to be synonymous with the darkroom, where negatives were developed in a light-tight space with running water, sloshing chemicals, and the glow of a red safe light. While many photographers were happy to give up this environment in the switch to digital printing, others continue to prefer the special alchemy of the darkroom. The pictures on view here are all made with objects common to a traditional wet-process darkroom and stand as tributes to its particular rituals and ambience.
Alongside the shift away from darkroom printing is the change in how people view images. The word photography (“writing with light”) was chosen in 1839 by British scientist and scholar Sir John Herschel to describe his discovery that sodium thiosulfate could be used as a photographic fixer to preserve images on a surface. Until recently, a photograph was almost always a physical object you could hold in your hand. Today, most photographs are viewed primarily on a lighted screen (a computer or phone) and are stored electronically as a series of numbers. In recent years, artists have been responding to this seismic shift, some by embracing the exciting new possibilities and some by memorializing or reactivating darkroom printing and historic photographic processes.
Includes work by Brian Buckley, John Cyr, Aspen Mays, and Robert Stivers.