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The Darkroom Goes Dark

I was unpleasantly surprised to learn of the death of analog (darkroom) photography. Until “The Darkroom Goes Dark” [Fall 2011] appeared in my mailbox, I had—perhaps naively—been enjoying the recent reprieve from the same tedious half-truths about how digital imaging would soon toss traditional analog photography into the dustbin of history.

[But] despite the claims of Howard Ehrenfeld, “Wet film photography is a bygone thing,” the reports of analog photography’s death are greatly exaggerated.

Film and darkroom materials are still available, even in the Baltimore photography store (Service Photo) where Mr. Ehrenfeld denies they are sold. There are traditional as well as online purveyors of these materials committed to analog photography.

Perhaps it is useful to think of analog photography as “slow photography,” akin to the “slow food” movement, both practiced as a countercultural insistence on the deliberate and patient use and enjoyment of real, not virtual, materials.

James DuSel
MA Classics 1981
Co-author with John Dorsey of Look Again in Baltimore, JHU Press, 2005