The first time I stepped into a darkroom, it was like finding an entirely different world that I could escape to. During my combined sophomore/junior year and senior year, I would spend hours with my headphones in, blasting Nightwish, producing badly washed, crooked border prints and unarchived, dusty negatives that I was absolutely proud of. I missed parts of classes because I didn't hear the bell inside the tiny 5 enlarger setup that my rural highschool somehow found the funds to have. My developing tank and camera were loans from the art school teacher at the time, and I didn't have to pay for chemicals or paper.
Having the chance to refine my darkroom skills at Columbia University in the summer before my junior year of college was incredible. Spending 4 weeks shooting around 20 rolls of film, developing it, archiving it, and printing in a university darkroom was an experience that solidified my passion for film and its place within my photography practice. That time I did have to pay for it, and I learned quickly how expenses add up in analog photography.
During college I worked as a lab monitor for the photography department, which included the darkroom. Being taught how to mix, manage, and dispose of chemicals safely gave me the tools to begin developing at home.
Life at Six Feet offered me black and white developing chemicals which has helped me during this period of isolation. Developing is like meditation for me. I set up, pop on my favorite murder podcast (Small Town Murders), and let myself get lost in the ritual of producing film.