The Halide Project opens a community darkroom in Kensington for local photographers

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The Halide Project opens a community darkroom in Kensington for local photographers

A nonprofit organization in Philadelphia is helping to meet the needs of aspiring photographers by creating a place where artists can gather and produce their own work.

The Halide Project opened the city’s only community darkroom in Kensington to provide film photographers with time, space and resources. The organization hopes this will make photography more accessible to those interested in it traditional processes.

The Halide Project, based in Kensington, is an arts nonprofit that serves the community through exhibitions, educational programming, and collaborations with other groups.

Funding for the project was provided by a grant from the Penn Treaty Special Services Districtwhich matches donations from individuals and collectives.

Opening a community darkroom was always a goal of The Halide Project, and volunteer board members spent years designing and building the darkroom to meet the needs of the local photography community.

“The greater Philadelphia area has a vibrant and robust arts scene, but resource availability and accessibility don’t always feel on par with the needs of the community,” said Dale Rio, co-founder of The Halide Project. “Our hope is to provide affordable space and educational opportunities to those interested in learning about or practicing darkroom-based photography arts, as well as to build and support the local darkroom photography community.”

Despite the existence of digital photography (and cell phones), there is a great interest in film and historical process photography. The new darkroom will provide tools for photo-based artists, including local university photography students who want to continue darkroom practice during school breaks or after graduation.

Photographers can use various facilities, such as a black and white group darkroom, a processing area for roll or sheet film, a UV exposure unit and coating area, and a private darkroom for color film and print processing.

Those interested in using the darkroom must first complete a new member orientation, which covers darkroom policies. Once completed, photographers can access the space on an hourly sliding scale and fixed monthly charges aimed at making the facilities as financially accessible as possible. The hourly rate is $5 minimum or $12 suggested. The monthly rate is $15.

Lab monitors will be on hand if photographers need a little help with the equipment, but new members who want to learn more can also take introductory, intermediate and advanced workshops.

“Photography has an enormous amount of barriers to entry, and we hope to lower as many as possible through access to equipment, education and a community of lifelong learners,” Adam Schachner, a board member for The Halide Project, who is instrumental. in running the darkroom, said. “I would love to see The Halide Project inspire more photographers and artists to play and try something new. So far people have been ecstatic to finally have a place to come and develop their film, print their negatives and with other people to talk about what they’re working through.”

The darkroom is located in the nonprofit’s space at 1627 N. Second Street. The Halide Project is currently working to further expand its facilities and is planning a grand opening event after the 20/20 Photo Festival at the end of September.

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