I used to love dark room time.
It seems like a lifetime since I’ve been in one, but I remember so well the Quiet amplified by the red light and sound of water moving,
and the thrill of a moment captured revealing its truth in the bath.
It never really got old.
Such a sense of mystery and surrender to the process – at least in my personal approach to photography, which I guess was always a bit intuitive now that I really think about it.
It used to drive my professor a bit nutty – she was a traditionalist when it came to photos.
Her way was not lost on me, and taught me so much that I still feel the value of – it just wasn’t my way of seeing and doing the dance of photo taking and making.
Snapping an impression to film was so grounding, centering, tactile to the moment for me…
I remember feeling, more than once, that it was an act that was saving me from myself, with myself.
It pulled me out of my head and showed me the world around me, both big and small, all at once,
on the earth, in my flesh, if I would just slow down and SEE.
It kept me fresh-dipping in the feeling of awe and connection to everything around me.
Then, to process the film and photo became an alchemy of sorts, a sort of philosophical experiment in which I was most interested in seeing if the photograph could express a glimpse of both my inner vision and outer sensation… a sort of amalgamation of my observations, experience and voice.
To move through the process slowly in a quiet dark room of reflective possibility made perfect sense to my soul.
The little room became my whole creative world of birthing my variation on this theme of life.
I’m even feeling a little of the ol’ giddiness about it just typing this memory, and a little nostalgic for the fading art of spools of film and contact sheets.
My process is not so different now, though.
I believe that we come with our process… the rest is just environment and medium, and we like some of that more than others.
Whether I’m painting, writing, cooking, making a video, or creating a class or space for gathering…
and even when I’m just talking with another person, or living and honoring the pace of my life and soul – even that –
it all holds that excitement of the dark room, if I let it,
if I dare to be me (with or without the traditional rules).
It begins by going in, locking the door, and turning out the overhead lights,
and then playing with how my inner truth and outer experience mingle,
how the shadow and light become infinite and one with just a flip of the switch,
and in opening to the process, ordinary magic reveals itself as if it had been waiting for this moment all along.
Because it Is.
I’ll be in a creative dark room of sorts for a few weeks – surrendering to possibility & experience – mixing, birthing, visioning, filming, writing, revealing, seeing.