Analog: The End of Professional Photographic Darkrooms and Recording Studios

Analog: The End of Professional Photographic Darkrooms and Recording Studios

Analog is an exhibition at London’s Riflemaker Gallery that invites you inside the last of London’s photographic darkrooms, as well as taking a visit to a working reel-to-reel music studio, courtesy of an installation by Lewis Durham of the band Kitty, Daisy and Lewis.

English photographer Richard Nicholson chose to photograph professional darkrooms because they are often shrouded in mystery, hidden behind the tidy glass facade of the lab’s front desk. The spaces he discovered were often haphazard and brimming with personal details: coffee cups, CD collections, family snapshots, unpaid invoices, curious knick-knacks brought back by globe-trotting photographers. These human elements transformed what might have been a detached typology of modernist industrial design into something more intimate and nuanced.

Many of the iconic images of recent decades were crafted in these rooms. Mike Spry’s high contrast lith prints of U2 and Depeche Mode for music photographer Anton Corbijn, Peter Guest’s black and white prints of the Trainspotting cast for portrait photographer Lorenzo Agius and Brian Dowling’s intricately masked colour prints for fashion photographer Nick Knight.

In Summer 2006, when Nicholson first began to shoot the images of professional darkrooms in and around London, some 204 were still in existence, continuing the printing of image from film-stock to paper within the new digital era. However, when he completed the project some three years later, only 6 remained.

Kitty, Daisy and Lewis: Going Up The Country (Analog Recording)

Slide Show: The End of Professional Photographic Darkrooms and Recording Studios

(Please Click Image to View Slide Show)

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