Performance, Darkroom, Prints

Apparently I’ve been at Carnegie Mellon for 5 weeks now.

I’ve tried to really hit the ground running.  In the past two weeks I’ve built an exposure unit in a darkroom that is currently unused. It’s basically made from an old theater light fixture hung about twelve feet in the air.  Since the prints I am doing are so large (3 feet x 3 feet) and since I want to go even bigger (6 feet x 4 feet). I need to have a light that is high in the air so that the light spreads out evenly over a wide area.

I had to test out many different wattages of lightbulbs to get one that would give me a reasonable exposure time. Not too long, not too short. I low wattage bulb would mean that it would take a long time to get the photo sensitive paper to react to the light. A high wattage bulb meant that it would take a very short time to get complete black. On either end of this spectrum it becomes difficult to experiment to get the right exposure

The CMU darkroom has a bunch of other supplies that I really needed to make this project successful.  I need trays and troughs to develop the prints.  I am using a tray to develop these prints.  The tray is just over 31 inches x 36 inches.  Having a tray that’s that large means I get an evener development of the prints.  I then stop the development in the stop bath and fix the print in a fixative by rolling and unrolling the print like a scroll in specially built troughs that CMU happens to have.  I also have gotten a ton of chemicals from CMU’s darkroom. To do the prints I recently made I used almost 20 gallons of chemicals.  I think I can get more prints out of these same chemicals, but man is it a lot of chemicals. Luckily the darkroom is setup with a powerful vent and it has filters to take out the chemicals from the waste water.

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