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  • martinamargaux


Updated: Nov 21, 2023

If this post had a soundtrack, it would be “Fever” by Peggy Lee. 

After my initiation in the darkroom, this is all I can think about. I went to buy my first analogic camera, a Canon AE1.

They tell me it is a good first  tool. I have the feeling it’s the first of many.

I am thirsty to learn and experiment more. I am looking for all the associative labs in Paris, I am discovering a community of people driven by the same obsession.

It is a totally new world. New rules, new elements, new materials, new art? 

So, on Tuesday night, I attended a workshop to learn how to develop colour prints in the darkroom. Wow.I didn’t have a developed film so I borrowed one from the teacher (who thought I was kinda crazy). At this stage, I am more interested in the technique and process than in the final image. That is a new one for me! The images will follow.

The process is similar to black and white print, but more complex…and it has to be done in total darkness. A truly immersive experience. 

After the workshop, the owner let me stay a bit longer to try out some experiments. At 1am he, rightfully, kicked me out, so I only have a basic study of a cyan shadowy print that I love but I need to go back in there , take the time, do the work, and push the limits of what can be done. 

I’m thinking of creating special stencils, using prisms and other filters and/or simply continue shaping light with my hands. The only constraint is the cost…I am looking for cheaper solutions like associations, subscriptions or, hopefully in the near future, residences. I’m also considering if I can turn my cellar into a dark room!I aim to explore deeper camera-less techniques like photograms and watergrams, as well as alternative processes, like cyanotype and liquid emulsion . There’s so much for me to discover. 

There is something primordial and theatrical about the darkroom. Alone, in the darkness, allowing all the senses but sight to ignite. There’s an interesting paradox in not using sight to make an image. The attention to detail, the science, the discipline are balanced by an unparalleled creative freedom, shared between the artist and the material. 

Waiting for the image to appear in the development liquid is like wishing for manifestation, witnessing a miracle.

I am physically suffering not to be able to do this every day, all day. 

I am reading and studying techniques I had no idea existed. If I could measure the oxytocin in my brain, it would be off the charts. 

I’ve got the fever! 

Martina Margaux - First attempt to colour photogram

Note: for the future, I need to scan the prints at the lab. How the digital interprets the print has got nothing to do with the original! Very lossy

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