Keeping the lights on

This article appeared recently in San Francisco, about the large community darkroom there. The most interesting sentence: “the amazing thing is that this technological time warp is in demand like never before.”

Link to SF Chronicle

The last public darkroom in Dallas closed several years ago. However, some local schools still have darkroom facilities and classes. The Tarrant County junior college system (next door in Fort Worth) has a large program.

Friend of the Silver Darkroom Valerie Yaklin-Brown (no relation) teaches in the Houston area at a junior college where the photo program is all film and darkroom.

Digital is here to stay folks, no argument there. But, the darkroom is not dead; it’s just not common anymore. Now, it’s “cool” …


Items for sale

I’m having a bit of a clean-out of the darkroom gear.

Over the decades, stuff has just accumulated.  I occasionally purchase complete darkrooms from individuals giving it up, usually just to get one item.  I’ve had things given to me.  Consequently, I have a good bit of surplus, including five (count’em 5) enlargers.

The list includes the enlargers, lenses, easels, trays, print drums and a bit more.  There’s probably more to come, so email me if there is something you need.

Take a look.

In Pursuit of Form

Sculpture and Photographs by Brett Weston

I have been looking for this book off and on since I returned from California over a year ago. I knew I had not disposed of it, but it was nowhere to be found. Yesterday, in moving some other things around in the “archives”, I opened a box of papers, brochures, maps, etc. from the California trip and the book was in with them!

BW Sculpture001 web

In May of 2014, we stayed a couple of nights at Wildcat Hill, the family home of Edward Weston, now occupied by his grandson Kim Weston and Wife Gina. They rent out Bodie House, the second cottage on the property, to visitors and they live in Edward’s original house.

Kim and Gina are very gracious hosts. Part of each visit is Kim showing one around, which includes Edward’s darkroom, pretty much as it was when Edward worked in it. It’s a pilgrimage for any film photographer, and I was not immune to the history in that small, Spartan room.

But we also talked about Kim’s Uncle Brett. Kim had been Brett’s assistant for a period of time. There was a couple of Brett’s wood sculptures among the many other art works in the house and I commented that I knew Brett had done sculpture. Kim said that not many people knew that, so he wanted to give me a book!

BW-Dune-1934-printed 1980

BW dune Sculpture

It was this little book, an exhibition catalogue from the Monterey Museum of Art, from when they had mounted an exhibition of Brett Weston photographs and sculptures in 2002.

Brett did woodworking and sculptures all of his life, but most people just don’t know about it, since he is famous for (obviously) the photographs! He did both free standing pieces and wall plaques. The interesting thing is the connection and influence of his photographs on the woodcarvings. The connection is undeniable and the exhibition of the two art forms together was the thrust of the exhibition.

BW white flower

BW white sculpture

Anyway, I am pleased to have found the book, and grateful to Kim Weston for giving it to me. It is my best souvenir from Wildcat Hill!

Another gathering of photographers

This past Saturday, I participated in a “print throw down” at Sun to Moon Gallery here in Dallas.

The gallery has done this annually for a few years now, but this is the first I had heard about it or participated. The event came only one week after our get together of local photographers to share and view prints, so I was showing work two Saturdays in a row. However, the format was very different, and the group was – for the most part – different.

Last week, (see prior post) we each stood in front of the entire group and showed as many prints as we liked (from 2 to 10 or so) and there were no time limits. Still, about 8 photographers showed work, and we finished in about 2 hours. So, about 10-15 minutes per.

At Sun to Moon, there were 4 tables. Fifteen photographers showed work, but the format was to draw 4 names out of the hat, and then each of the four could spread as much work out as would fit and there was 10 minutes for everyone to go around and view the prints. The whole event was done in about an hour and a half.


Each event had its advantages. Everyone got to see everyone’s prints at the first gathering, but we had to view them from a distance. At Sun to Moon, we could see the prints up close, and even hold some of them, but there was often not enough time to get to everybody.

Yet, I think both events were successful. Last week, we had 12 photographers and 8 showed work. At the gallery, there were 25-30 in attendance (I didn’t count), and 15 showed work. Four of us were at both events: me, JB and Susan Harlin, and Tatyana Bessmertnaya. Subtracting the overlap, that’s around 40 people and 19 photographers showing work at the two dates combined.

Sun to Moon will continue to do this annually, but the more informal group that met the week before is planning to meet more often, the frequency to be determined by interest.

In both instances, it was gratifying to see so many people interested in viewing prints. Printing is what is so often missing in today’s digital environment. Yet, most of the work at Sun to Moon was digital or hybrid (film capture and digital print), while some of both was shown the week before.

Thanks to Scot Miller, of Sun to Moon, and to all the participants. I look forward to next year!

A gathering of photographers

There was a gathering of about a dozen photographers in Dallas today, with most of them showing examples of their work. It may not have been a proper salon, but the get together was certainly a step in that direction.

Interesting work was shown, from black and white silver gelatin, to digital color, to collage. Landscapes, architecture, still life, and other varied subject matter made an appearance.


There is no substitute for seeing actual prints. Nothing looks the same on line or in a reproduction. We are blessed in the North Texas area with a museum that has a large, significant photography collection, and three local galleries that deal exclusively in photography. But it is hard to see work by current, local photographers.


This was a good start to what we hope to become a regular practice in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. It has been attempted before, usually with only 6 or 8 participants. Part of the success in achieving a larger number for this date was better publicity, via assorted social media and email lists.


The core of this group is made up of film photographers and darkroom printers. However, we are not limiting participation to film or darkroom photographers. Our principle objective is to let artist photographers have a place to show and share work. Commercial photographers have their own outlets, i.e., their customers. While many artists are, by nature, introverted; we hope that participation will be an inspiration for all involved.


Perhaps, someday, we can reach the levels of the old Paris salons. Stay tuned for information on the next gathering!