A little over a year ago now, a superlative young man by the name of Alex Bishop-Thorpe and I began plotting how we might install a photographic darkroom inside the fledgeling Fontanelle Gallery and Studios. It was exciting – watching the old factory transform into artist’s studios while we busily hunted around Adelaide for all the invisible bits and pieces that go into making a truly winning darkroom.
According to Legend, Alex had been hoarding photography equipment for the last six years waiting for an opportunity just like this one. We had a darkroom sink, a drying cabinet, loads of enlargers, trays, tanks, beakers, filters and lenses – but most of all we had lots and lots and lots of enthusiasm. We were able to salvage an enormous revolving darkroom door and re-purpose some industrial extraction fans we found in the roof. The City of Charles Sturt kindly supported our endeavour with the funds to build and install brand new enlarger benches. I cheekily took off to New York City on a 3 month residency right at that point – but Alex and his dad Kim completed the darkroom fit-out just in time for the first series of alternative photography workshops.
That’s how it started, and thanks to Alex’s very hard work we are still going strong. Over January and February 2013 we have a series of workshops aimed at novice photographers on pinhole cameras, creative polaroids and Holga plastic lens cameras. Later this year we intend to run more workshops on more advanced subjects such as wet plate collodion. We are thrilled by the response to the workshops – which are
mostly completely full – and the enthusiasm of the workshop participants. I had no idea Adelaide was replete with analogue photography enthusiasts, but I’m very pleased that it is and that they are coming to play our lab
The Analogue Laboratory website is growing, but I think it already gives a pretty good idea about what we do. Have a read – maybe we can work on something together!