FREE worldwide Darkroom Locator allowing users to find a darkroom, or those with darkrooms to offer their facilities to others
A fantastic resource for film shooters! Reblog to get the word out.
Tokyo Darkroom Style 2
Thomas Beswick has been living in Japan for a few years and recently sent me some pictures of his darkroom setup. His layout really makes the most of a small room with minimal furniture. Thomas writes:
I guess my darkroom may look a little different from conventional ones. Although it has all the basic features of a darkroom, it lacks a water supply and is used from a seated position. Because I live in Japan I am often very busy with work, skating or photography. This doesn’t leave me a lot of time to relax. With this in mind I created a more chilled out environment for me to print in.
Standing up for 3 hours in a darkroom can grind you down after a period of time but drinking tea in a low chair while listening to your favourite tunes is a good way to make it more enjoyable. The room itself is just a regular room with the light blocked out by a dark curtain. It is easy to set up and pack away which is also an added bonus for anyone who doesn’t have much space to work in.
I usually print until it starts feeling like work. On average I’d say that I spend 2-3 hours per session. In that time, I can usually print about 8 fibre prints or 12 RC ones. It really depends on what I’m printing. If I want to print a predetermined series, I will take longer, but if I’m printing as I go, I might not spend as long on each print.
Since my darkroom has no water supply I have a larger tray filled with water that I put my prints in after the come out of the fix. It’s a sort of holding tank- and once I’m done with the printing session I take the tray to my shower cubical for the wash. After that I’ll squeegee them with a cheap car squeegee on the walls of my shower room. It’s a typical Japanese style cubical which has two big smooth walls. After rinsing the prints, it is the perfect surface to squeegee prints on.
I dry my prints in the shower room as well. I clip the prints from a laundry dryer- it’s a plastic thing with a lot of clips- to my bathroom doorframe and leave a tray underneath for any excess dripping. For fibre prints, once they have dried I put them in a thick book and place a laptop on top as a kind of heat press.
Thomas has made an extremely informative darkroom / printing tutorial video that you can catch on Youtube. If you are even remotely interested in learning to print or set up your own darkroom I highly recommend watching it.
Check out Thomas online here:
Website (tumblr) tkbmedia.com
If you’ve got a darkroom in Japan and would like to share it through Tokyo Camera Style, please send me an email.
「東京暗室スタイル」始まります！手作りの暗室写真や説明募集中。自分のアパートや家でプリントをしている写真家達、ぜひtokyo camera styleに暗室の写真をアップさせてください。
Recently I was lucky enough to have my darkroom featured on Tokyo camera style. Please check it out if you like photography. A big thanks to John Sypal too. Please check out his website www.tokyocamerastyle.com. Peace!
A comprehensive video about 35mm and 120mm print making. The video discusses topics useful for beginners and experienced photographers alike. Subjects discussed include:
Easy darkroom setup - enlargers,black out curtains, ect……..
Equipment - enlarger accessories, timers, filters, easils, ect…….
Chemicals & developing - explanation of chemicals, step by step…
Colour developing - colour with a B&W enlargers, filters, chems…..
Printing paper - characteristics, differences, dying, flattening, ect…
Please share this video with anybody who likes to print or anybody you think would like to start printing : D If you are thinking of starting your own darkroom, I hope the video will finally convince you to go for it!
Please post any other extra information you’d like to share in the comments. Thank you.
Hey thanks a lot for the interesting posts. the one about doing camera shopping in Tokyo is enlightening! I just lost my canon powershot G12... and I'm about to buy a G16, but I'm tempted also by the Pentax MZ-1. Do you have any suggestions to give me? I think I'll buy at Fujiya, they have extremely nice prices!Once again thanks a lot - pf
Hey there. Thanks for the message. I’m not up to date with digital cameras but i think fujiya is very good. Theres also many camera stored called kimura camera in shinjuku and shibuya. You might find a bargin there too! Peace
An 8mm film documenting travels from Osaka to Tokyo.
Shot and edited by Thomas Beswick
Music by Martin Ballou.
The film was also used in a collaborative project working together with Jesse Freeman. The collaborative project was entitled “Winter Mondays, Summer Sundays”. Please read the extra information below: Film Title: Winter Mondays, Summer Sundays
Tagline: Two directors, Two Journey’s into analogue Synopsis: Two films: one about a mundane walk to the train station on a winter Monday morning and one about an exciting trip away from the city on a summer Sunday.
Stylization: Half shot in black and white 35mm film in stop motion and half shot in color 8mm the two films take on the characteristics that the trip dictates.
Credits: Directed by Jesse Freeman & Thomas Beswick
Music by Martin Ballou
+Really nice write up by John Sypal…expresses more than I had originally even conceived…
The past few days on this site have seen two posts about places for people to gather and interact with one another and photography. Fujifilm’s corporate presence at their new Wonder Photo Shop in Harauku fills a need as does the indie and Artist run space Pippo over in Asakusa.
Sunday evening was another reminder of the importance of sharing art as both a work but also as an experience. In a extremely cool venue filmmakers and friends Jesse Freeman and Thomas Beswick held a screening for their recent collaborative short film Winter Mondays, Summer Sundays
Once it’s online I’ll post a link but the most basic description is that it was divided into two parts, with Freeman’s measured and stop-motion monochromatic take on his daily morning commute through Tokyo with his Leica followed by the vivid richness of deftly edited 8mm film which Beswick shot last summer on a hitchhiking & Skateboarding tour through Japan.
The film was fantastic and since I can’t post a link now for you to enjoy at least what it looks like you know, the film, I want to say a few words about how - the experience.
Neither guy had to work together, but they did.
Jesse didn’t have to shoot, develop, and print his own film, but he did.
Thomas didn’t have to lug his 8mm movie camera all across the country and pay for processing and invest so much time to edit his footage, but he did.
They didn’t have to go to a darkroom to print out fifty 5x7 prints from the film as keepsakes for the first fifty guests, but they did.
They could have done all this start to finish digitally just like Samsung and Apple shows hip young people doing in their commercials, but they didn’t.
They could have just dumped their stuff to flickr or youtube, but they didn’t.
One hundred people didn’t have to choose to make their way from all over the city to a single location and sit on the floor or stand to watch a five minute short film, but they did.
Freeman and Beswick created a wonderful piece of art- and were able to make an event out of it for their friends to experience. Communal viewing of a film is a wonderful thing. And while the means by which the soon-to-be-uploaded version will potentially allow more people view the thing per moment than could have fit in the entire building, the fact that last night’s event actually existed is important in ways they internet can commodify.
Even though the screening is done, memories and the catalyst for new friendships and ideas remain. That’s part of it- lights coming back on and seeing the looks on other faces- leaning over and chatting as opposed to commenting and “liking”, that’s really a neat thing to for them to have facilitate. (That’s not to say that Facebook wasn’t instrumental in invitations and online connections. All these things are tools to be used by the desires of people and serve to compliment all aspects. Either one without the other would be lacking. )
I mentioned the photo space Pippo earlier- their statement of purpose has this great little line in it:
Photography is the art of relationships.
Art is the art of relationships.
Get people together- it’s worth it.
Winter Mondays, Summer Sundays
Thomas shot his half with an 8mm camera while hitchhiking and skateboarding across Japan last summer while Jesse Freeman did his part entirely with his Leica M6 in Tokyo this past winter. I’ve actually seen the footage that Thomas has put together and can’t wait to see how Jesse’s work compliments/interacts with it.
The venue is really cool and the event is going to be a good time. See you there.
When: 6:00pm Sunday, February 23rd
Where: Just Another Agency, near Naka-Meguro station
Music by Martin Ballou
Tokyo to Osaka (part 2 of 2)
Any photo could be described as documentary. I guess this is why I have found it so difficult to determine my reasons for taking pictures. Is it street photography? Is it fashion? Is it anything? Why am I taking photos?
Being from Manchester, I often take things at face value. My instinctive reaction to comments like, “what are you trying to say with your photos?” irritate me but at the same time provoke me into questioning myself. It was this provocation that recently brought me to a personal conclusion that I am actually shooting documentary photography. Not just in this series, but in all of my previous photography too. I couldn’t recognize it before, but as I learned to strip away the aesthetic value, I began to see that I have being unconsciously documenting everyday life. I find new people and new surroundings interesting, so I feel the need to document them.
I am not trying to make a dramatic statement with my pictures, more that I am recording the characteristics of a place. So the question is not, “what am I trying to say?”, but more, “look at this, I think it’s interesting, tell me what YOU think”. My opinion is irrelevant.
Before reading any further, if you haven’t already, please look at my images before their descriptions hider you’re your first impression. It is not necessary to read the descriptions either. Thank you.
1. The first image is entitled ‘Shrine’. In my journey from Tokyo to Osaka, this was the first image which interested me. Viewing the Hakone Kuzuryu shrine without its surroundings, I could truly appreciate the workmanship and sturdiness of such a powerful object. An object which is surrounded by folk law and instantly recognizable when viewed in its lake. The idea of this photo probably came around due to my visit to the open air museum in choukoku forest. Going there taught me that there is more than one point of view when enjoying a sculpture.
2. The second image ‘laundry’ is possibly the least aesthetically pleasing, but the most personal of the series. It was my first night of my journey, and I opted to wash my clothes in the shower. This became my routine every night, and when I departed the next day, I would have cool damp pockets which were quite welcoming in the hot weather. The two walls at either side of the picture seem to create a composition reminding me of my super 8 camera ratio. I primarily shot super 8 during my journey, constantly having it in my hand and shooting scattered bursts of frames. The image represents the journey aspect of this series.
3. This third image ‘peak’ was taken at the top of a mountain close to Hakone. I like this photo because it reminds me of an older Japan. Come to think of it, this is probably why I found Hakone so interesting. It has its own particular feel, the transport is limited and it was easy to feel cut off. I feel this image reflects this nicely.
4. In my journey I also tried hitchhiking for the first time. I suppose I felt more embarrassed than scared, but my next stop was in the countryside and there were no buses running. I had the feeling that it could break my spirits if nobody stopped, but after 3 minutes my spirits were elevated. A mini van pulled over and the door opened revealing a lady at the wheel and three children in the back. After talking for a while I became more relaxed. My eyes suddenly panned around to notice that all the children were in swimwear and surrounded by inflatables. It was then explained to me that they were heading to a local river nearby. They offered to take me half way to my destination, and when we got to the river, Instead of leaving, I was invited to go for a swim. My plans were changing all the time and it was an amazing feeling to not have to be anywhere. I spent about 2 hours swimming with the clothes I had on and conversing with the lady who had brought me there. ‘Adventure’ is my experience put into one image and shows how relaxed the Japanese countryside really is.
5. After hitchhiking with a young mountain biker back to Fuji city, I travelled to Shizuoka and met many nice people along the way. This next image ‘locals’ was taken in Nagoya. I met these two ladies when visiting a gigantic green Buddha. The lady on the left was in her eighties, and the lady on the right was in her mid seventies. They were very good friends. This is another thing that amazes me about Japan; elderly people are so kind and still full of life. It was about 28 degrees that day.
6. This next image is of ‘Toganji’ temple and is entitled ‘nature’. I am aware of the almost gimmicky title and composition, but I still like it. Including the trees with the Buddha makes for an intended harmony. I am not a religious person, but I think it is easy to feel spiritually influenced by such an amazing object. It almost feels like the Buddha is not a statue, but a humble person meditating in a peaceful forest for eternity. An amazing display of power without using any power at all.
7. Ise jingu (Ise grand shrine) is considered to be one of the most holiest and important sites of the Shinto religion. I will not get into too much detail, but there are many special ceremonies and rituals involving this sacred space. The site is actually a giant shrine complex rooted in a sacred forest. Access to the shrines is limited and it was prohibited to take photos in the main shrines. Instead I opted to take an image of a structure which reminded me of Ise. The result was this photo of ‘Kaguraden’ entitled ‘Ise’.
8. Nara was one of the best places I visited on my trip due to its distinct calm feel. It was Filled with open areas and parks inhabited by deer. Despite its influx in tourism, I still managed to experience Nara’s culture due to the festivals and the people I saw. I suppose the deer in the photo could reflect the contrast between the old and the new or the east and the west. Not just in Nara, but in other parts of Japan. Western influence and tourism help the economy, but culture must be preserved through the practice of it, not just through the preservation of structures. The photo is entitled ‘deer’.
9. This next photo ‘onlooker’ complements the previous. It shows a reversed view of Nara, with the deer looking at the tourists. After looking at this photo, I couldn’t help thinking how we must look to the deer. Are they the attraction or are we? I think it’s an amusing concept.
10. ‘Toy shop’ shows a nice moment as the old aged shop owner talks to the little boy about what souvenir he would like. When I was a little boy, my parents would always let me buy one toy at the end of the trip. This would be the best part, and shops like this were very important to me. I am envious that I can no longer be so easily content. Traditional and local businesses are so important because they keep things personal. I hope the next generation will still have them to look forward to.
11. A few days earlier I had met a man from Kyoto at a bus stop. He asked me if I was going to visit Kyoto during Obon (the festival of the dead). He explained that in a few days, they would light great fires on the mountainsides and it was a good chance to see something rare. I decided to go to Kyoto, and on the night of the festival, it was like nothing I had ever seen. The streets were crowded with locals and tourists. People were shoulder to shoulder and all talking about the same thing. The energy of the place was far more exciting that the fire itself. Japan celebrates the dead as well as the living. In some countries, it is sometimes easy to forget the deceased, but not in Japan. The blurred ghostly looking people in the foreground add to the feeling of the image ‘Obon’.
12. My last stop in my journey was ‘Osaka’. I had heard a lot of things about the city and its people. It is said that the people of Osaka are generally more relaxed and easy going. Although I spent only a short time there, I felt the change in atmosphere. The people were very nice and more common like the people of Manchester. I can’t wait to visit there again. The image itself is a typical outsider’s view I think. I am sure Osaka warrants a better, more personal photo, but this contains some elements of Osaka which are worth documenting.I feel I could take a similar picture back home in Manchester.
I hope you enjoyed the series. A short companion film shot on super 8 is available here: