...a survey of London's remaining professional darkrooms.
Richard Nicholson's series of photographs and brief essay seems a very appropriate follow-up to the previous posts.
Darkrooms are disappearing. Polaroid film: going, going, gone. Yet, an increasing number of young photographers are interested in working with these analogue technologies. They are intrigued by the hands-on craft of darkroom work: the engagement of all five senses in the art making process. Something similar accounts for the recent resurgence of respect for painting at art schools in this country. Ditto, the massive interest in DIY and "upcycling" amongst young designers. The zeitgeist is evident at the cutting edge of other academic disciplines as well: ideas like "embodied cognition", and the flourishing of research into mirror neuron systems are two examples from cognitive science and neuroscience, respectively. These ideas have taken off in the context of a society-wide paradigm shift in the technologies we use, and in how we think about communication (Web 2.0, for instance). In a recursive fashion, the technology itself has given legitimacy to areas of exploration which previously were considered "infradig". It has become OK in art, and in science, to seriously explore affect, intuition, empathy, and to give the body it's due. Our embrace of digital technology has left more space around the edges for different sorts of creative thinkers, and that is a good thing.
I'll be returning to this theme over the course of future posts. But for now, let me leave you with this thought:
Obsolescence is a terribly over-rated concept.