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Out of the Dark: The Ending of an Era

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A black and white photography student evaluates her density proofs outside the dark room in Chemeketa’s visual communications lab.

By Amanda McTiernan and Natalie Lieurence Photo By Brad Bakke

For over 31 years, Chemeketa has been offering darkroom photography classes, and now, that darkroom will be closed.  Sitting in Building 4 room 284, is a doorway that leads to a very dark, low-lit room.  In this room, Visual Communications has offered darkroom photography, giving students the chance to learn an amazing and beautiful technique and also giving them the chance to create their own works of art through this.

Luckily, even though the room will be closed down and changed into something else, the darkroom is merely being moved to the Art Building.  There will be very limited offerings of the class after it has been moved, but darkroom photography will still be around.  “We will not offer darkroom photography in Visual Communications after this term. The art program will begin offering classes once a term beginning in fall 2014,” Says Christine Linder, the Visual Communications Instructor and Program Chair. “Our hope is that traditional photography will gain a larger following in the art program and remain a viable part of their course offerings.  We intend to offer a full range of photography classes to continue the work of photographers in the digital medium.”

On Friday, March 14th from 4pm until 6pm, Christine and the darkroom photography instructors, Marty Giovaninni and Tom Carey hosted an Out of the Dark party, celebrating the closing of the darkroom and the opening of a new one.  Invitations were sent to all past darkroom students in which they could bring their own filmstrips and create one last photo to remember to darkroom by.

While not very many students showed up, there was still a ton of food, drinks and laughter.  Students enjoyed their last photo printing and touched up on their skills one last time.  On her final year at Chemeketa, student Ivonne Gonzalez said “It was sad to hear about the dark room closing. I used the dark room at my old high school for my freshman year and for one term here in Chemeketa. I really enjoyed using the dark room this time and was able to really learn the techniques and ways to make the image show its true qualities,” Like many others that attended, they were quite down to hear the closing of this room, but was pleased to hear it wasn’t going to be totally removed.  “I do believe it is important for everyone who is interested in photography to really learn evolution of photography. I’m glad that they are moving it.  It upsets me to see valuable things with history to come to an end.  I know there are still people who love to print using the darkroom, it’s a place where you sort of get lost in and have fun seeing your images come to life.”

While this class will be very limitedly offered, there are other alternatives such as basic to advanced photography (digital) including portrait, documentary photography and photography as a business,  photo illustration, various Photoshop classes for digital photo compositing and editing.  If you are interested in taking photography classes, but are not a VC/Art student, that is okay too, these classes are open to anyone and everyone.  Be on the lookout in Fall for the new darkroom, and lots of changes in the Visual Communications building.

 

 

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