In my “about me page” I mention that my first camera was the Ilford 50c. A 126 camera, that I took control of around the age of 7. By the age of 10 I had taken over the rickety old wooden shed at the end of the garden, wall papered the inside, and painted it black. A “keep out” notice, is obligatory for any child at the age of 10, but when it’s a darkroom, it’s fully justified!
My father purchased a small darkroom kit from a local lady who had put an add in the back of the local paper in the for-sale column, that’s how things worked pre-eBay. Even now 40+ years later, I can remember going into her flat with dad. The box that the enlarger came in, the three Paterson trays, 8×10, safelight, tank, etc. My parents were always supportive of my hobbies, something I am sure I was almost blind to at the time, but now older, looking back and now that they are gone, I can really appreciate. I will leave the story of an up-right piano for another day!
I have no pictures of darkroom one, only a frame grab from a super 8 film of its destruction.
However, what followed had a bigger foundation, and didn’t creak in the wind – concrete was the way forward, and from the ashes rose darkroom two! The only problem that I remember was that in the winter it was freezing cold, and I had to wear a coat and have hot water bottles under the trays – and in summer it was boiling, so the same water bottles I kept in the fridge, and I was often in swimming trunks! This time thankfully there are no pictures.
I’m slowly working my way through my photographic past, in the aim of sorting, and getting it into some sort of order and came across a scrap of 126 film that I processed about age 10, in that first shed. I notice from the edge that it looked like I had a little trouble loading the film onto the spiral – look at that scratch! As it’s such an early example of my work, it seems appropriate to share it here early on.
Just for old times sake I’ve made a new scan and printed a little 3.5×3.5-inch print – oh the nostalgia of it all! The photo is of the Crescent in the city of Bath, a rather imposing terrace of houses. Below is a more recent digital image taken with a Fuji X-pro 2.