Few days ago a finished to set a darkroom at home. After two years studying photography and producing projects and ideas, looking for a right direction, looking also for myself in this incredible field, I think testing it in the darkroom is one of the next steps to push the boundaries; to add more to my training that is really far from over, considering the process of develop not only the really moves the heartbeat of photography but a potential improvement on my way, as photographer, and of my works, many of which go toward authorial directions.
Setting the darkroom at home was possible thanks to some people.
I primarily want to thank Maurizio Garofalo. He is an estimated figure on the field of Italian photography e not only. Trainer at Scuola Mohole, the academy of visual art where I attended the study of photography, he was crucial on my course of study with his theachings about editing that paved a completely new way on the reading of images and their use to talk about something, spread a message, with photographs, taking care of the photographic language.
(to know more about him click on his name).
Maurizio wanted to donate all the darkroom equipement. In turn he had received it from one of his close photographer friends who had to give away some of his personal work equipement due to a definitive departure from Milan.
I also want to thank Gabriele Lopez, a known Italian photographer and trainer at Scuola Mohole as well. Gabriele put students indirectly toward analog photography thanks to his experience and professional works which are for the most part in the darkroom. His great passion and a relevant cultural background make this possible and extremely fascinating. With his tips and useful guidance brought also me to appreciate and pay a particular attention to that photographic process.
During the course of study, he talked about the history of photography, analyzing it, since the dawn. So, I want to thank the masters of photography as well to put me on the analog way. I could name several authors, including Jacob Riis, August Sander, Man Ray, Weegee, Saul Leiter, Anders Petersen, Alec Soth, Lorenzo Castore, and more. From them I’ve learned the necessary to get closer to a kind of photography, for their style, their research, their approach and production.
(https://vimeo.com/368781600 at this link you can watch a documentary about Anders Petersen, moved by another important photographer and his friend Engström. A short part of his work in the darkroom is shown at about 20 mins)
I would like to mention in a brief and specific way Saul Leiter with his incredible introspective works on the street and more. I got really fascinating and really excited by his photographs due to the deep emotional transport I immediately felt. ‘In My Room‘, his book of nude photography, was one of the first books I bought and thanks to it I discovered a strong feeling with nudes also. The book shows black and white photographs, even though he had used to shoot in colors. That’s why he could have developed all negatives in his studio to preserve his and the photographed women’s privacy.
Last but not least is Tiziana, the other person I want to thank. With her I could experienced a lot of analog photography, nude photography in most, and now she is what for Man Ray had been Nush: his muse and inspiration.
Without her I wouldn’t ever have had the great support in every way. She never spares herself. From the practical tips to the life advice, helpful for my inner growth and professional improvement as photographer.
During the days I’d been working to the realization of the darkroom she took care of me, as always actually, cooking delicious food with love and passion. She is used to propose dishes from her culinary tradition, as good Sicilian. So, thanks to her the hard work to set the space for the analog process got lighter and accurate.
In this last photograph of the darkroom (actually the first photo after it was ready), there is something on the table that deserves to be described. It’s that container with stars and colored balls. They are planets and all together is a small universe in a box made by a child maybe. I found it in the junk room of the building where I live.
Curiosity is that, at the end of the works, Tiziana were talking about hanging planets from the ceiling of the darkroom. I got astonished and told her ‘Ok…that’s crazy! We have it!’.
I had already seen the box in the dumpster some hours before but I hadn’t taken it. After that ‘intuition’ I went straightly downstairs to bring it.
The coincidence is really curious. The day I finished to set the darkroom with its black starry curtain and Tiziana’s idea, even after drawing a particular constellation on the ceiling with a special meaning, I found a universe in a carton box that somebody else had thrown out. Maybe the child’s mom, maybe his father? Or even that same child who had grown up by now?
Luck or good sign? Well, I don’t believe in chance, so I’m more for the second possibility and like thinking that somebody thrown stars and planets away for us, thanks to the strange connections that bind events. That’s it!
Now the ‘universe’ needs to be hung, so the darkroom will get more magic than it is already.
Here I also would share a song that I discovered after all that. It’s ‘Where I Find You’ by Dustin Tebbutt. Nothing happens by accident, not even this last finding.