Nfld. & Labrador·Video

This N.L. photography group is developing a darkroom for the whole community to use

When the one-hour photo developing business began to fade, a group of shutterbugs in St. John's decided to keep film photography accessible by establishing a community darkroom.

Shutterbugs say film photography is more than a throwback: it's an art form

Keeping the art of film photography alive, one snap at a time

3 months ago
Duration 3:29
You can't develop a roll of film at the grocery store these days, so a group of shutterbugs in St. John's are building a community darkroom. They call their group, "Dark NL".

Taking photos has never been easier, unless you want to do it the old-fashioned way: on film. 

Not so long ago, turning a roll of film into a stack of photos was as easy as stopping by your local pharmacy or grocery store.

But as the one-hour photo business began to fade, a group of photographers in St. John's began organizing around the goal of developing a community darkroom.

They call their group DarkNL, a clever play on the popular hashtag that blew up during a massive power outage in 2014.

DarkNL Co-Director Graham Cox looks closely at a film strip during the developing process.
DarkNL co-director Graham Cox looks closely at a film strip during the developing process. (Zach Goudie/CBC)

DarkNL directors Johnny Lush, Graham Cox and Ethan Murphy are inching closer to securing a space for a community darkroom, but in the meantime, they're working to build the community itself. 

The group is holding a series of workshops and lectures this summer, aiming to make film developing and other analogue photography techniques more accessible.

In a world where your smartphone can take a near-infinite number of digital pics with the touch of a button, why would you want to take fewer pictures more slowly? Watch the video above to learn why these shutterbugs wouldn't have it any other way.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador


Zach Goudie is a journalist and video producer with CBC in St. John's.


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