One of the most difficult things to do with film photography is having a place set aside in your home specifically for developing and printing your own films.
Those of us who have very large homes no doubt can indeed spare a complete room for this activity. But those of us who live in small apartments or houses usually do not have any spare space at all. So what do you do in this situation?
Many photographers have been able to set up darkrooms in garden sheds or outbuildings, as well as in attics or spare washrooms.
My own darkroom has been set up in a spare wardrobe believe it or not! Ok, agreed, it’s not very spacious but it does the job. All you need in essence is a light tight space, with enough room for you to stand in and do your stuff with your films or prints etc.
All I have in my improvised wardrobe is a small table with 2 shelves which carry my developing trays and other spare bottles for storing chemicals, water etc. The top surface is taken up by my enlarger.
On one of the sides, I have fitted a darkroom safelight that allows me to work with photo paper without exposing it.
This little room has been serving me for many years and I’m quite happy working in it. How can I modify it to make it better? There are many ways to do that, which I may or may not do, depending upon time….and sheer laziness!
When the door is closed, the place is light-proof and consequently it can get a little stuffy in there, especially in the warmer months of the year, so the next facility I’d like to fit would be an electric fan to get fresh air in. There are special fans available for use in darkrooms that only let air in but no light. Aside of that, I can’t think of anything else really that would make my life in my darkroom easier…perhaps a shelf on one side would be handy, for placing bits and pieces.
There are endless permutations of this design; you can move things around to suit yourself, or you can build it in a closet you may have. If you have the space, you could fit a table with more shelves, say 3 or 4 shelves, or maybe fit in a small stool or chair. The sky’s the limit really.
So there you are…a darkroom in a wardrobe. Now I want you all to promise that you are not going to make any more excuses about not having a darkroom!
PS please don’t laugh at my drawing…I’m not an artist, but you get the idea!