I’m so excited Asheville has a public darkroom! How can I get in there?
We’re excited too! Individuals with previous darkroom experience can become members after completing an orientation to become familiar with the room’s function and basics of our chemistry. We have separate sessions for BW and Color. Orientations last about 45 minutes and are offered on a variety of days and times. Please fill out the Orientation form on the Working Memberships page to RSVP. After orientation, you may purchase a membership and sign up to arrive whenever you see “Available” on our Google Calendar. Visit the Scheduling page for more details on how to sign up to work.
What do your Working Memberships cost? How are they structured?
A month of membership for BW costs $40. At this time, it includes unlimited visits, along with chemistry. You can also do a one-day drop-in rate of $20, or a half month membership of $25, available after the 15th of each month. We have color analog print memberships for $60/month, and color film memberships for $40/month plus the cost of film. Digital memberships are $40/month and include the use of our scanner and printer (prints cost 50 cents per inch by longest dimension, or you can bring your own inks).
How do I pay for a Working Membership?
There are two ways to pay for a working membership: Paypal or in person during open hours. Please visit the Working Memberships page for more details.
How do I leave a class/workshop deposit?
There are two ways to leave a deposit: Paypal or in person during open hours. Please visit the Purchase page for more details.
What is the difference between a Working Membership and a Supporting Membership?
Working Memberships are for those who are using the darkroom’s facilities, while Supporting Memberships are available to those who primarily want to financially support the darkroom’s mission in an amount of their choosing, rather than come in to make work. You do not need to become a Supporting Member to be a Working Member, but there are benefits to doing so, such as reduced monthly Working Member fees. See the Supporting Memberships page for details.
Can I rent the darkroom so I can work all by myself?
At this time, our only structure is a member-based one, but we may consider facility rental in the future.
Do you offer special rates for private group classes or workshops?
We enjoy working with the community to create specialized learning opportunities wherever possible. Contact us with your ideas. We also offer private lessons for those wanting to schedule their own times and create their own learning experience.
Is there a time that I can come by and check out the facilities?
Open hours for the darkroom are currently Tuesdays from 3-5pm. We may have an orientation session going on at that time, but you are free to drop in and say hi and look around. If you happen to be visiting the building when a member is working, please be respectful of their time and direct questions to us instead, or return during open hours if you have a lot of questions and want to chat.
Can you develop a roll of film, make a print, or scan slides for me?
The Asheville Darkroom is an educational facility with member access to provide opportunities for people to practice their own skill and art. We are not a facility that offers commercial services. However, you may like our Facebook page to meet members who may want to work with you if you need an occasional roll of film developed or a print made. You can also check out our Links page for commercial facilities in town.
Can I work in the darkroom if I’ve never printed or developed before?
Working Memberships are for individuals who have previous darkroom experience and know how to safely and effectively use a darkroom in general. If you have no prior experience, you may sign up for our monthly Photo 101 class. Upon completion, you may purchase a Working Membership and use the room.
I used to work in the darkroom, so I don’t think I need the BW Photo 101 class, but I’m a little nervous working on my own for the first time in awhile. What should I do?
We provide step-by-step instruction sheets for both film developing and RC and Fiber printing. These instructions are based on our Sprint chemistry, written by Bridget Conn, who has over 15 years of experience working in the darkroom and teaching in numerous school labs in the Southeast. They provide lots of detail, so it should be like riding a bike!
If you read through the instructions, and you’re still uneasy, there are a few options. We have some limited Assisted Hours available, where our intern can be on hand to answer any questions you may have about our instructions. If you need more direct instruction about the processes, we recommend you take the BW Photo 101. We also have 1.5 hour demo sessions for those who don’t want the full class but just want to see a refresher on printing or film developing. See the Classes page for details.
What kinds of processes can I do in the darkroom?
We offer BW development, BW printing, C-printing, and C-41 color film development. This includes 35mm through 4×5 film for both BW and color. Print-wise we can do up to 16×20 BW (11×14 archival) and 11×14 for color. Our Fujimoto CP-51 color processor makes prints up to 20″ wide. We have space to cut mats, and the possibility to work with alternative processes, including a Polaprinter for Polaroid transfers, and a UV exposure unit for alt process work. All of our equipment is donated, so while you can’t expect perfection exactly, we try our best to accommodate both the novice and seasoned darkroom photographer. Please see our Equipment page for more details.
What else do you do besides classes and member access?
Our goal as a non-profit is to become a key organization in the region that promotes Photography as an art form. We currently offer free critiques on the last Sunday of each month, we feature analog photographic art shows through our gallery/project room known as Silverspace, and we want to expand into lectures, films, and other programming. In early 2016, we began a bi-monthly lecture series for local photographic artists to speak about their work or topics in photography. We keep everyone up to date on these events on the website, in our mailing list, and in our Facebook page. Suggestions are welcome!
Are you an official 501c3 non-profit organization?
We are pleased to announce that our application was approved on June 30, 2014. Please see the Donate page of the website to make a tax-deductible donation, or learn the benefits of becoming a Supporting Member.
I have an enlarger to donate! Can I give it to you?
We very much appreciate you thinking of us. Right now, the room is only capable of housing a limited number of enlargers, and we have no storage space to take on more. We post our current needs on the Donate page of the website if anything changes, as we may be in search of some accessories, but as of right now, we are stocked with what we need to function. Please refrain from leaving equipment on our doorstep, unless you want us to cry a little when we have to put it in the dumpster. No one wants that.