When I left university, I knew that I would miss the facilities immensely, especially the darkroom and the library, so, as soon as I settled in London, I started to hunt for a cheap rental darkroom to print my work at.
I’ve been looking everywhere on the internet and, I have to say, there aren’t many options in London for traditional printers, and most of them are too expensive for me, therefore I was delighted when I found out on a forum about a community darkroom in Homerton, literally round the corner from where I live, that apparently was one of the cheapest places where you could print both colour and black and white in London!
Photochats is a lovely lovely darkroom ran by Peter Young at Chats Palace, on Chatsworth road, in Homerton and I highly recommend it.
Unfortunately there’s no much information about this incredible place on the internet (they’re working at their website), so I’ve decided to copy their spring newsletter, with opening times, prices and descriptions of the facilities and of the courses, on this blog (after the cut)
Now in its tenth year, Photochats is a community photography project offering exhibitions, photographic workshops and high quality traditional darkroom printing facilities at a reasonable price.
Photochats Darkroom Opening Times from 11thJan to 12thAug 2012.
Black and White and Colour Darkroom Hire.
All darkroom users have to attend an induction session before using any of the facilities. This will cover health and safety, darkroom and building procedures. The induction lasts for one hour and costs £10.00
This can be extended to include a second hour of directly supervised refresher printing if requested
(£20.00 including induction).
The induction sessions are held weekly either on a Wednesday between 2.00-4.00pm or on a Saturday between 10.00am-12.00.
Subsequently enlarger time can be booked by the session as shown in the timetable above.
There is no annual membership fee. The basic charge is £4.00 per hour to use the darkroom.
Alternatively you can buy 12 hours for £35.00. These hours have to be used within 3 months of purchase.
All darkroom bookings should be made at least 24 hours in advance by phone: 07921 816754 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Cancellations will be accepted before the day of booking. No shows on the day will be charged.
Remember that your session is charged from the time you have booked from.
The colour darkroom consists of 2 bench mounted De Vere 504 enlargers plus a floor standing De Vere 5108 (10×8). The processor is a table top Metoform 5040 which will take a maximum print width of 16 inches (20×16). The chemistry is Kodak. All negative sizes up to 10×8 can be catered for.
The black and white darkroom has 4 bench mounted enlargers, including at least two De Vere’s, one with a cold cathode the other with a Multigrade 500 head. The paper is processed in open trays with the maximum size being 24x20inches. The paper developer is normally Ilford PQ Universal.
There is a resin coated roller dryer and a couple of fibre dryers plus racks for air drying.
50 sheet boxes of 10×8 resin coated black and white paper currently available for £10.00
Introduction (or refresher) to Black and White Printing Course.
Sundays: 11.00am – 4.00pm
Sunday: February 26th; April 22nd; June 24th.
These classes are open to photographers of all different ages and ability levels, including beginners.
The course will include making a contact sheet from which 2 or 3 exposures will be chosen to be enlarged. Aspects of printing such as density, contrast control, paper types will be considered.
Students will also improve their understanding of basic camera controls. The course is designed to enable people to use the darkroom by themselves after this introductory or refresher session.
Black and white film processing tuition is not part of the above course but can be arranged on any Wednesday evening between 7.30 – 9.30pm – cost £20.
Colour Printing Course.
Sundays: 11.00am – 4.00pm
Sunday: March 25th; May 27th; July 22nd.
This is an introductory course that will focus on basic printing and filtration issues. Topics covered will include, reading negatives, test strip analysis, colour cast recognition, contrast control, dodging and burning techniques, pre flash.
Bring along some colour negatives. Paper will be provided for use on the course.
To book yourself a place on any of the above courses or workshops please
Contact: Peter Young on 07921 816754; or email email@example.com
Black and White Film Processing.
The black and white film processing facilities are in the sinks in the open studio next to the darkrooms.
Due to the increasing use of the studio space by other non photographic groups we do not have access to these facilities at all times. If you would like to develop film you should make that known at the time the booking is made. The processing facilities are normally available on Wednesday/Thursday evenings from 7-10pm and on Saturdays from 12-6pm.
Film developers stocked include HC110 and Rodinal.
All chemicals for the darkroom are supplied and mixed by Photochats.
You can also leave your film for processing – cost £5.00 per roll.