November 24, 2011


Last night I gathered my balls and mixed chemicals in the kitchen even though I was working on a guess. 1+9. One part, nine parts to make a whole. 1200 mL divided by ten parts. Okay, figure it out. I got a sweet tip from a man named Francois, a sales guy at Photo Service. Use white vinegar in the Stop. More acidic than water, more economical than chemical. It worked well. Shopping on a guess, working on a guess, living on a guess. This is how I roll these days. What a funny time.

There is a working darkroom in my home! Finally, as Creme said when I told him. Yeah, seriously. Last night as I whipped between dry station and wet, I said aloud to myself "I am printing in my own darkroom". I have been looking forward to the moment the first image would appear like a magic trick in  the developer since my first introduction to printing in Mr. Ginter's IA class. IA. Industrial Arts. My weekly saving grace in Grade nine. Our class of 19 would ride the bus from Rosenort to Morris (fifteen minutes of wildy horny teens being teens) and I would hunt down Jeff Landry. We never even made out, but I was a girl charmed. Amy Zach, Chantelle Friesen and I would book our respective cameras (I think they were Nikon Fs) and run wild around Morris shooting each other until our rolls were spent and we would go check out the local thift shop called the MCC until it was time to head back to school. Could there be anything better? Thrifting and shooting. My mother found countless children's shirts in the laundry that year. Tired of arguing over appropriateness, she took to burning them in the barrel at the edge of the yard. (I will do the same for my own inappropriate teens).  I would pick up a new one at the following week.

During that entire year of Industrial Arts, all I did was silkscreen and photography! Graphic design? No patience. The first silkscreen print I made was a shitty little firetruck (digital animation style) on a small t-shirt. No idea where it is now. Probably burnt. Ashes to ashes. I have strong memories of that darkroom. I didn't see another set up until I was 23. Creme's basement. It all looked so complicated, but I loved sitting in on his sessions in that tiny setup. Creme chain smoking as he printed, Cat Power's What Would the Community Think blasting from upstairs. Good years together, more to come. I don't know if you read this Craig, but I love you dearly. You have taught me more than you will ever know, just by being who you are.

After my chemicals were dealt and the temperatures even, the first picture I printed last night was the Belly to the Sea House. What is it about that house? I has lodged itself in my visual memory like a burr. So printed it. Underexposed. I love trial and error. More light, more time. Overexposed. Try again. School gave to me the books,  tools and understanding that I needed to be able to work in my own environment. Thank you Chih-Chien, my photo teacher for explaining to me again and again the concept of exposure. It will take my whole life to really get it, but he helped in provide a strong foundation. I find I work with my enlarger with confidence.

Time to work. Currently, I am reprinting the black and white section of my portfolio. Bush depiction. Just printed my favorite shot of Maya eating lunch beside Jim Bob, the forester. Going to set up. Start again. What a life.

My first print. November, 2011.

1 comment:

  1. You rule for building your darkroom. I've also been thinking about those afternoons in the Realm of Bill Ginter. It sounds like you actually saw the value in it at the time, and even took advantage of it, which was a rare thing. I wish now that I had recognized what a cool opportunity it was, and taken it as a springboard into doing great creative stuff...rather than farting around and mocking the whole thing.