Highlighting over 300 pieces of traditional darkroom and experimental photography, this exhibition shines a light on the richness of techniques and creative opportunities offered by manual photographic development. Photographers from across the globe are assembled in this large-scale salon installation, featuring pinhole, tintype, glass plate, cyanotype, lithography, gum over platinum, photograms, selenium, tri-colour, and silver gelatin prints.
The root of photography dates back to early antiquity. The word “photography” comes from ancient Greek, meaning “drawing with light.” In a world saturated with social media and a constant flood of digital images, darkroom photography is experiencing a renaissance. While purists have always believed in the preeminence of analogue photography, renewed mainstream appreciation for techniques from the pre-digital era signals an exciting new chapter in contemporary photographic practices. In the words of Ansel Adams, “the negative is the equivalent of the composer’s score and the print the performance.” The alchemy of the darkroom and mediation of the artist’s hand gives photographs their unique expressive power. While technology can mimic the end result of these processes, it can never fully recreate the energy, artistic depth, and tangible quality of manual photographic development.