I started developing my own film back in March. Over the past half-year I’ve quickly gotten the hang of home processing. Sure, my dinky Kodak Scanza scanner produces ok-at-best scans, but I do have plans of a better scanner when I have enough scratch.
And I figured if I was going to home develop, at some point I’d want to print my own photos. I didn’t want to go and spend several hundred dollars to set up a home darkroom, 1 at least not just yet. I wanted to learn the craft first. As I’ve stated before, I’m lucky that I live in Portland because there’s a wealth of resources when it comes to film photography. There’s the Portland Darkroom, where for a modest fee I could develop, print, and/or scan my own film. The catch is that they don’t teach you how to print. 2 And I wasn’t going to go there and just try to figure it out on my own.
Thankfully Portland Community College does have a darkroom class. It’s taught at their Southeast campus, just a couple miles from my house. It’s an intimate class, with space for eight plus instructor. The smallness of the class means it fills up fast. I looked into doing it in summer, but by the time I looked (on the day registration opened!) it filled up. So I kept an eye out for when fall registration opens.
Fall registration opened on Wednesday August 17th at the ungodly hour of 5 am. I woke up at 4:45, opened the laptop, and kept on refreshing the browser until “registration open” appeared. I got in! After I completed registration and payment, I went back and looked at the info page. At 5:10 AM only 3 of the 8 slots remained open. Yeeps! Guess there’s many other folks who want in, and had also had the same experience as me. 3 By the time I actually woke up later, all was full. Maybe they’ll add another class at some point?
Anyways, I’m in. Class starts on September 28th and I can’t wait. I’ll have updates on my film printing journey as they happen.
1 My dad did just that back in the early 80’s. When he was still with my mom he built a room in the attic, got the enlarger, timer, all that jazz. I don’t ever remember him doing any darkroom work, however. I’m pretty sure that my mom (for whatever reason) was against the idea. When he moved out he sold all the equipment, as he was in debt. After he left I used the room as a “chemistry laboratory” for a bit, as I was a science nerd. When I moved back into my mom’s house at the tail end of my Connecticut experience (1998-2000) I converted it to my art studio.
2 At least not at this time. They used to have classes, and may again at some point.
3 I also checked the “Intermediate/Advanced” level class, which there was two. Both were at 2 of 8 slots open.