Digital vs. Darkroom
One of the reasons I love my job is that I am asked to consult with the Division of Construction for my school system on new school buildings. Three years ago we were in the very beginning stages of planning to build a new high school. The Associate Superintendent of Curriculum and Instructional Programs asked my supervisor and me if we still needed photography darkrooms built in high schools with the move toward digital photography. Since my background is not in photography, I set out to gather information to answer this question. I knew we wanted to keep darkrooms, but I needed to answer this with research.
I called several major universities (like RIT and Yale) and asked them if they are teaching darkroom, digital, or a combination of the two? All of them said that they were teaching both but that it was getting harder and more expensive to find the supplies for the darkroom. They all said they plan to keep their darkrooms as long as they possibly can and that they believe that the foundation of photography belongs in the darkroom. I figure if a student is only going to have one photography experience in high school, then is should be digital. If a student then becomes more interested in the fine art of photography, they can take darkroom as an advanced class. So I ask you, what are your thoughts and opinions around digital vs. darkroom? If you were asked to build a new school and had to give input on adding/removing a darkroom (that will be there for the next 50 years) do you keep it in? Why or why not?
Here are some websites you may want to read that discuss this issue:
* Freestyle Photographic Supplies