Get Out Of the “Dark” About Darkroom Photography

Traditional film and darkroom processes have been undeniably dying out over the past several decades with the invention of the digital camera. The new generation of photographers is following an interesting trend, though, with a sudden enthusiasm for the film medium. It’s a craze led by the likes of Gucci muse Petra Collins that can be compared to the record player: trend in music, people seem to believe that film is more “raw,” “real,” and creative.

Sheets of rolls of film.

Last class, when had my second experience with traditional black and white manual photography, I worked on developing film. If you aren’t familiar with this, there’s an entire process including working in the darkroom, that allows photos that are taken on a roll of film to be accessed. The whole process of development is multilayered and can be stressful for a beginner, especially in the darkrooms; a pitch-black environment that is essential for the photos to not be ruined because they are light-sensitive materials. After processing the roll of film, it is soaked in chemical baths and left to dry. This process allows you to access only 36 photos that one cannot see until the end, meaning that there is no way to tell if the shots will appear until you take out the photos and set them to dry. This is the risqué nature of the medium that some people reference as more artful than digital.

I interviewed photography instructor Cornelia Hediger to create an exposé on the ins and outs of traditional darkroom film, in comparison to digital photography.

Q: Do you prefer digital or film photography, and why?

A: Overall, I prefer the look and quality of a darkroom print vs a digital print. A traditional printed image, shot on film, has grain. I love the look of grain printed on fiber based paper. You cannot beat that look. It is absolutely stunning.

Q: What are some of the advantages of darkroom photography? What are some of the disadvantages?

A: The advantage of darkroom photography is that you have a negative to work from, versus a digital file. Each image is unique as the prints are done by a person and not a machine. A darkroom print still looks superior to me than a digital file printed in black and white. There are some very nice papers out there that mimic the look of a traditional fiber based print. Definitely, the paper and technology have come a long way and prints, produced with digital files, are starting to look better. The ‘disadvantage’ of a darkroom print is the time factor. It takes longer to produce a darkroom print versus a digital print.

Q: What is your favorite aspect of black and white film photography?

A: My favorite aspect of black and white film photography is that I absolutely love the process. I love to develop film and I love printing in the darkroom. I find it magical to watch an image come up in the developer and I like the slower process of producing an image. In the end, I also prefer the look of a black and white image printed on fiber based paper vs. a digitally produced image.

Q: For young photographers, do you recommend that they learn how to use both film and digital cameras? Do you consider film photography an essential for photographers?

A: I think it is a good idea for young photographers to learn shooting with film and at least experience the process in the darkroom. Film ‘forces’ you to slow down and perhaps be more responsible when taking an image. Each image is recorded on a negative and cannot be deleted like you would delete a digital image. Personally, I find the experience of learning how to take images with film/print in the darkroom essential when learning photography. To some people, it opens up a whole new world whereas others will find the process a slow and tedious one.

Q: Do you think darkroom photography will ever go “extinct”?

A: I do not know if darkroom photography will ever go extinct. In the fine arts, it seems to be making a comeback. The masses and everyday household will not turn around and go back to film. It seems that film and traditional darkroom printing is perhaps surviving through the arts. I have no idea, however, how photography will develop over the next decades.
-End of Interview

Chloe Abidi

Farewells and Goodbyes


On the last day of class all that is left are farewells and goodbyes. It feels just like yesterday we were all strangers with one common interest but yet here we are sad to leave one another after 11 awesome weeks. With a new outlook on not only the fashion world but FIT also, I decided to ask my classmates to reflect on their time here in the Precollege Programs to give insight for many of you hoping to absorb some of the same knowledge we have gained.

“I Love the location and vibe of FIT.”

-Julia

“This is my first class I have taken at FIT it has been a great experience, definitely coming back.”

-Brandi

“Great way to meet new people and make new friends.”

-Sarai

“Definitely where I see myself for college.”

-Jasmine

For me, this being my second year here, I have doubled my education and am very engaged in the fashion industry. With hopes of coming back in the Spring, I know I will yet again get to participate in this experience of a lifetime. From writing about FIT and sharing my thoughts and process with all of you, it made me realize how gratifying the Precollege Programs are and that there is nowhere I would rather be.

Thank you for tagging along on my journey.

With love,

Faith

 

A Photography Student’s Point of View on VSCO Cam

Hey guys!

VSCO cam–one of the most popular photo editing apps of our teenage generation…but not for a reason that I am very proud of. We are the generation of photo editing, Instagram and an overwhelming overflow of social media. I fully support the convenience of being able to take and edit photos on a whim, however, I am not the biggest fan of people thinking that a bad photo can be fixed with a nice filter. Obviously this app is not the reason for this plague of poor quality editing, but I have noticed that the popularity of filtering photos has skyrocketed since the app became more popular about two years ago. I follow my fair share of friends/family, celebrities, photographers, and companies on Instagram, and other than photographers and companies, pretty much everyone else is guilty of this. Even looking back on my old photos, I cringe seeing the amount of times I used the P5 filter on VSCO to edit a photo. Now, I focus on using the lowest concentration of a filter on a photo for the gram, and I use filters that accentuate the best parts of the photo. In fact, taking a photography course at FIT has made me focus more on certain aspects of a photo that cannot be fixed with a simple filter. In the studio I have learned how to control the lighting, and shadows, and angles present in my shot, and using the darkroom for printing has exposed me to the rawest form of editing, because I can only control the exposure and contrast when printing film in black and white. I have even had conversations with other Precollege students, both in and out of the photography department, agreeing that cell phone photo editing can almost be annoying because of how everyone suddenly thinks they are a professional photographer by slapping a pretty filter on a poorly constructed photo. I have a lot of respect for people that don’t even edit their photos (#nofilter), and most of my peers at FIT follow that trend. A trend that has been dying out is having an attractive Instagram “theme”–having the same filter and color scheme throughout their photos. I feel that along with the trend of unedited models and people with more ‘realistic’ body types being showcased in the media has had an effect on this. While people’s Instagram feeds may not be as aesthetically pleasing, each individual photo is now a lot more quality and just overall gives off better vibes because you are looking at what actually happened. In my opinion, I would rather look at a raw and maybe not 100% perfect photo, rather than an over edited and unnaturally posed picture. Abusing filters and being able to skew people’s perception of you and your life via social media is something that I am very against and I honestly just lose some respect for someone when they are too in over their head about themselves and their feed. Another quick complaint I have about VSCO is how people use this platform to showcase the parts of their life that they want people to know about, but don’t want to completely publicize. This totally differs depending on where you live. I’ve noticed that people that I follow from NYC, and more specifically FIT,  have tasteful and artistic photos posted up to their VSCO page–perfect! And then there’s people in my town. Selfies, parties, vaping, vandalism, selfies, screenshots of text messages with their significant others (what filter are you even going to put on a text message???), oh, and more selfies. I personally rarely update my VSCO profile, but when I do it’s usually pictures from shoots with my friends or vacation pics taken on my camera. Again, I feel very strongly about this due to my involvement with photography and the arts, especially now that I have some experience in a more professional photography environment thanks to the Precollege program. Below I’ll post some screenshots of Instagram profiles to showcase examples of what I have been ranting about this entire time. 

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An aesthetically pleasing Instagram theme that highlights golds and pale accents

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Filter options on this popular editing app–VSCO

My good friend and also a pre college student that has adapted the 'no filter' theme for his Instagram profile

My good friend and also a pre college student that has adapted the ‘no filter’ theme for his Instagram profile

 

Do any of you guys have social media pet peeves? How do you feel about modern photo editing? 

Until next week,

-Francesca

The Precollege Dream: Arden

I have high expectations for myself. Very high expectations. I dream to work my way up in retail whether it is starting at Claire’s and ending in Chanel, or Sales to corporate at Saks. I dream to be a top fashion blogger. I dream to work for Vogue and travel the world and learn from each experience. I dream to be invited to NYFW and strut in the most extravagant designer wardrobe. I dream to be personally invited to all kinds of fancy events and talk shows, to be honest, I just have a dream to wash my face twice a day. I have a dream and I dream to fulfill these dreams. I dream to go to FIT and work HARD. I dream to live the fashion dream.

I may come across as being a little dramatic because, well, you are supposed to dream of good health for yourself and your family. Dream of happiness and comfort. But I dream the fashion dream of glory and gratitude. But not to get ahead of myself, taking baby steps one at a time, one by one, starting at FIT, with my Precollege classes.

I have been growing. Each Precollege class I have taken there is a fine line form the first week to the last. My artistic interpretation has grown. My technique has grown. My personal vendetta has grown. I am growing, as a person and at this point in my life it’s all starting to come together. I have been dedicated in applying to Communication Design which has a high demand. So I would say that hard work does pay off, and it has been. Precollege class have been giving me a peek through the keyhole to pinpoint what I enjoy doing the most.

Visual Arts – Portfolio Preparation – AP Art


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Prior to any Precollege classes I started my art journey at my local high school.These classes have been so beneficial towards my success. It has given me the knowledge through trial and error of what media I use the best and ways of improving my drawing technique with practice.

HAD 150: Magazine Design

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I learned the essentials of Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. It has definitely taken a lot of time and hard work. I enjoyed it, creating pieces of typography from my notebook to the MacBook.

HFS 182: Developing an Eye for Styling

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Color, texture, flow- in a nutshell.                           

It took some time to get all 3 of those elements in harmony. In the weekly assignment of mood boards, you could see my development of skill from the first week to the last.

HPH 159: Digital Camera Use and Photography for the Beginner 

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The first class I was clueless. I am still learning the balance of taking a good photograph, the shutter speed, aperture, IOS; and that is just the start. This is the current class that I am taking and just being the third week in I can already see a drastic improvement of my skills being applied.

Improvement is essential in life. My improvement gearing to FIT is essential. I dream the Fashion dream along with the dream of good health and prosperity.

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Goodbye FIT! (Just For Now)

I can’t believe it has been over eleven weeks since my first class at FIT. I never thought so much would change and happen within that period of time. I know already that I’ve come out of this amazing experience as a better and more knowledgeable person. I loved learning about an industry I’m passionate about and that I hope to work in one day. I’ve met so many like minded people and I know we’ll stay in touch after the semester ends. I’m finally confident in using the subway by myself and navigating my way through the city. Overall, I’m definitely more independent of a person than I already was and my time management skills have improved.

To complete the course HFM 060: FASHION FORECASTING: SEEING INTO THE FUTURE, my classmates and I had to complete a final project. Our final project was to predict a trend for fall 2016 for a retailer of our choice. I chose Topshop because in my opinion it is one of the most high end and fashionable fast fashion retailers. We had to compose a three page paper that consisted of a history of our retailer, a fashion overview of the season, and an overview of the trend. We also had to make an outline of the key elements for the season and a trend board (these two components of my project can be seen below). I really enjoyed this project and it made me realize that creativity is important no matter what you’re doing in the fashion industry, but especially when forecasting a trend.

Trend Mood Board

Key Elements of My Forecast

Although it is sad that the semester is over along with this amazing blogging experience, I’m planning on coming back to FIT this summer and I cannot wait to start learning about another aspect of the fashion industry. Blogging for FIT has taught me so much and improved my writing skills. If you have the chance to do it, I highly recommend it!

See you later FIT, thanks for the memories and the knowledge. Happy Holidays everyone!

Thank you for reading,

Kenzie Davis