Photo Darkroom available for SLMS

Sorry, reposting, original got deleted by mistake…

@directors and members…

I have a photographic darkroom kit that I can offer the space on long term loan, akin to the lathe. It’s an LPL colour enlarger, lenses, 4 blade easel, neg holders from 35mm.upto 5x4, safelight, timer, paraphernalia such as bottles, tongs etc. Colour printing mixing bath kit as well I recall. The whole lot can be used in a large cupboard space, doesn’t need a “room” , unless you want to print big. There’s a host of camera less printing techniques that can be done, solar prints, photograms, that don’t require negatives. The enlarger is about the size of a stool, and the rest fits into a box.


It would be really interesting to learn using it if we have room to keep it ( and somebody to teach)


@scday94 what do you think? I know you know a thing or two about photography

Small bathroom in arch 2?

I also have a lot of kit for a darkroom thats mostly unused at the moment (no room suitable in my current flat). I could loan a lot of my kit as well if its of interest but I dont think we have an appropriate space (The small bathroom could work tho, tbf). I have a colour 35mm enlarger, a B&W35mm enlarger, easels, safety lights, several trays and chemicals and some patterson tanks.

If anyone is interested in it there are several community darkrooms around -

Id be more than happy to go with someone and show them how it works if they’re interested.

I think given the amount of available space (not a lot) the best option would be possibly store enough equipment for and other alternative processes which have little to no waste chemistry. Waste chemistry, environmental conditions, ventilation and light tightness are your enemies in anything photography. Cyanotypes and other uv sensitve processes we could use the exposure unit for which is nice.

:wave: Hey team, it’s me who’s built (anyone want to lend a hand with updating it?) and I also helped to tidy up and maintain the darkroom at London Hackspace.

I could easily help set up a darkroom and teach people how to use it, but I’m also not sure about space. You can do some creative “darkroom in a cupboard” things but I don’t know what are the plans for the overall space layout and whether we could fit something somewhere.


I’d be really keen on learning from really experienced people, particularly for B&W prints. Finding suitable space for it is the issue. I’d expect that also means space close to a sink? Can it easily be set up and taken down and put away? - e.g. a wall bracket that the enlarger gets put on when in use, otherwise the enlarger lives in a case. What kind of footprint would this have when set up? (I heard a rumour that there’s a sink under the pile of accumulated stuff / dumping place by the gorilla’s new lair).

There is! It is a real bathroom, not just wood storage- is it large enough if setup cleverly?

To be honest, I don’t feel like this is something that would work in the space. There are ample professional and member based darkrooms in London which will provide a much higher quality of service and equipment maintenance, I’m happy to recommend. It is one thing doing black and white dev or cyanotypes but it is another thing setting up a proper darkroom experience with an enlarger. You need deionised, filtered, temperature controlled water sources. Carefully managed chemical waste disposal, A good ventilation system. A dust free environment to hang prints/ developed film to dry just to start. Plus you need to make the space large enough to be able to teach others in otherwise it is not exactly a community tool that can be shared.

I’m of course in no way against the idea of a darkroom, I was hoping to be a professional darkroom printer at one point, but the space surely runs out at some point for new crafts? Some limited alternative process photography could be squeezed at a push I think.


I agree with you Sam. We could set one up in the small bathroom but we would not be able to have more than one person in it and it would be very very difficult to keep the air clean enough with the wood shop just outside. Without significant investment it would probably be worse than something someone could set up in their bathroom (or the very first one I had setup in a friends shed)

When there are so many good options around (Rapid Eye and Photofusion are both excellent) it’s not really worth the effort.

That said if someone wants to go to the effort I’m still happy to lend some equipment (some is in storage but I’m happy to get it out if it has somewhere to live) and teach people if they want.

Yep rapid eye are great. Full colour and black and white printing. And fotofusion is only down the road in Brixton. There is also the camera club near Kennington which have great rates and at least one darkroom in greenwich so loads near by. I think a lot of these places do introductory courses too for people who want to learn from scratch.

As you say Tom, the best experience to have is in a fully equipped dark room. Can you imagine how much chasing tails there would be in a cupboard, next to the wood shop, with a train vibrating your enlarger head and blurring your picture!?

(Would be great for dodging/burning though!)

I didn’t even think about the vibrations. That’s the last thing you want mid print :joy:

I can teach darkroom skills

Yeah I’m planning to do cyanotypes in the space with the exposure unit. More than happy to run a workshop on it

I do a lot of darkroom printing, just did an MA in photography and have done a fair bit of alt-process printing.
I would both use this and be happy to do some workshops if we had a darkroom setup but also it’s probably something to do at photofusion instead.

I would defintely be interested in a darkroom workshop!

2 cents worth for the thread…

There seems to be enough members willing to step up and take it forward.

I appreciate it might not end up as a darkroom to match the other specialist darkroom spaces in London. But members can delve into darkroom practices under the one SLMS membership fee , not needing to pay extra for using other darkrooms…and also under the same roof as textiles, 3d printing, wood and metal work…which are fertile materials to experiment with in a darkroom setting.

For those that need truly professional darkrooms, other spaces cater for that. Any members who get the bug can also transition to those spaces.

You don’t need to have a darkroom at all to do most of the practices that would work in the space. In my professional experience attempting to set up a working darkroom especially with an enlarger is not viable in the space.

I like to think about it this way:

All the spaces that are within the makers space give the user the ability to make the highest quality of final results given enough skill of the user. That’s why so many people come to the space to invest time in making and developing skill.

A darkroom on the other hand is not just dependant on skill, it is highly dependent on environment. There will be no consistency in any traditional darkroom printing due to the environmental conditions. All that and then you still wouldn’t put an earthquake detector under a train line.

This all being said I am more than willing to be proven wrong. If the consensus is to go head with this, then please, please consult as many people you can in the space that have as many specialties in photographic printing as possible and make a full cross checked plan beforehand. This would be something to raise in a members meeting.

This isn’t just about quality of printing it is also about the health and safety of all the members and the environment. How could you run a viable induction instead that area. Also consider what it would be like to induct people one at a time in cupboard.


If we want to do some cyanotypes though happy to teach people how a 5x4 monorail camera works an shoot directly to paper. Cheaper than any film these days.

1 Like