Relocating or moving a darkroom

Relocating or moving a darkroom sounds so simple. Is it merely a case of packing at one end and unpacking at the other? For some perhaps, others maybe not so much!

Hallo dear reader, yes, you may have deduced that we are in the process of moving our darkroom; should be so simple. The reality, for us, is somewhat different to the simple.

Why are we relocating our darkroom?

The easy answer is that a different location will provide a more conducive environment for our hand printed photos, other answers may get a bit long-winded so we will avoid them for now. *sighs of relief*

Why is relocating a darkroom not so simple?

The most obvious one is that there may be a period of time where neither darkroom is fully operational; so no printing can take place. Even by leaving packing and transporting the bare minimum needed to print to the last minute, there will inevitably be some ‘downtime’ where printing cannot take place in either location. We are planning to have a minimum of downtime, but the best laid plans of mice and men… etc.

One less obvious concern can be the water quality. Some of the friendly chemicals we use are sensitive to a hard or soft water, one of which will release ammonia if the water is too alkali. Ammonia by itself is definitely not friendly and with ‘normal’ water is held safely in solution. We don’t like ammonia (!) so the quality of water is important.

The ‘newer’ darkroom will, most likely, have a different physical arrangement to the existing one. As most activities in the darkroom are, by definition, undertaken in the dark (!) or at least in low red lighting, one gets used to knowing where the tables, cupboards and even the light switch are! Until we can remember the new layout then the printing or processing may have some added discomfort of finding the corners of tables in unexpected places; not quite Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark” more like “Bruising in the Dark”!

What are the benefits in relocating or moving a darkroom?

For us, we will have an environment better suited to mindful and considered creativity in which to hand print our photographs.

In moving a darkroom you can optimise the work space for your current needs, taking into account the little things that niggled in the ‘old’ darkroom. This is something that we are planning on incorporating in our new darkroom.

Relocating is an ideal opportunity to reassess the things that ‘might be useful’ one day! If indeed it may be useful one day, would it still be functional or still in-date? We tend to be ambivalent about  decluttering but there have been some items that have already been put for recycling, on the other hand we have returned a couple of photographic items to use by ensuring their functionality!

Embracing both the benefits and concerns in relocating our darkroom we are along the path to the new environment, not there yet but totally making good progress. There may be more in-depth articles about our move – so stay tuned.

Do you have any experiences of moving a darkroom? You can leave a comment or send a message, we’d love to hear your stories!


This has been a Hand Printed Photos production