Fusion of Digital and Film Photography
Within the Fine Arts world, the industry and economy of Fine Arts, there is a renewed interest in the high craft value of skilled printing that comes, in part, out of the darkroom tradition. This renewed interested happened very quickly. It can be argued that digital photography didn’t really saturate various disciplines until about 6 years ago (2008)- plateaued. Within a few years galleries were already seeking artists who know how to competently use film and print in a darkroom. The economy of that business domain quickly saw a potential representing artists who can make either one-off photos (think paintings) or who make photographs that possess the obvious or not to obvious creativity, materiality and rigor of film/darkroom based photography. This was a quickly established niche within that market. When fewer individuals possess a skill set that translates into other related technologies (film to digital) that skill gains a different kind of value, within certain circumstances a higher value. This high craft, high value reality is a selling point for the department. So many schools have closed their darkrooms, those who have not could leverage their darkrooms and related professional learning tools and spaces as unique value.
Why not FRC?
Over the last several years since the saturation of digital tools in art, students in community colleges love learning in the darkroom. They love it! There is the possibility of achieving, within certain photo studio groups of students, a kind of professional camaraderie and critical pleasure that teaches students how to work around other people while also being creative. This can happen in a digital studio of course with the right instructor, but everyone has a digital studio. We have a darkroom! Oh, and the photography courses utilize a unique, forward thinking (rarely found in higher ed) darkroom-digital hybrid curriculum and tools. Many artists who teach photography would love to have this blend, but it’s difficult to achieve this within most department due to competing faculty interests, space/studio/scheduling issues (they are usually in separate rooms, floors or even buildings) or simply because the academia tends to have a quick hyperactive response to new technology and in some cases too quickly purged film/darkroom technology.
FRC's darkroom is fully equipped and has 12 professional enlargers capable of printing small to large formats (35mm to 4x5 sheet negatives).
The Feather River College Art Department owns, for student use:
-20 SLR cameras (35mm)
-An array of lenses
-3 medium format cameras
-Professional archival inkjet printer
-Professional photographing editing and printing software: Lightroom and Photoshop