The art of analog photography has been on the decline ever since digital media became king. The Bushwick Community Darkroom is breathing life into a dying art form.
The Bushwick Community Darkroom is a place where photographers can come together and share their love of developing film. Photographers are charged an hourly rate, or they can sign up to become a member and use the facility—a space at Shops at the Loom, located at 108 Thames St.—for a yearly fee and a few hours of donated time.
The Darkroom usually has around 20 members and services an average of 50 customers per month.
After graduating from the School of Visual Arts, “I lost access to their darkrooms and couldn’t afford to go to any of the darkrooms in Manhattan, so I built my own,” Lucia Rollow, creator of the Bushwick Community Darkroom, said.
Rollow started her darkroom in 2011 with nothing more than an empty basement, donated equipment and a love for analog photography.
As the darkroom grew in popularity, Rollow had to expand as well. In 2012, she moved out of her basement and into the location on Thames Street.
Now, the Darkroom is in the process of moving again. “Our new home is at 110 Troutman St. and hopefully will be open at the beginning of April,” Rollow said.
The new space will offer customers and members a 10 station black and white darkroom, a film developing station, drop off drum scanning and digital printing services, printing and developing services, a full service photography studio with a 400 sq. foot cyclorama, among other features and services.
“The biggest challenges have been scaling up, staying organized and learning customer service/business management skills for sure,” Rollow stated.
Although the process has been challenging, “it’s been amazing to watch this place grow and feel the love that so many people have for it,” she added