Number Two – 1st rent house

My second and first dedicated darkroom was in a rent house I leased just out of college.  It was only a coincidence, I did not rent the house because of the darkroom.  In fact, I didn’t even know about it until I moved in.  The landlord had been an avid amateur photographer and had built a dry (no plumbing) darkroom on the back of the laundry room.  The room was about 5×7, but with plenty of counter space.  Painted flat black on all surfaces except the floor.  I don’t remember the floor, but it was likely some kind of sheet vinyl or linoleum.

The room shared a common wall with the laundry connections.  So, it was an easy task to poke through the wall – with the landlord’s permission – and install a second hand kitchen sink and a faucet (with the help of a brother-in-law).  Hot and cold running water and a proper drain.  Who could ask for more?  Climate control, perhaps?

There was also no heat or cooling – and no insulation.  However, a 5×7 room doesn’t take much.  I bought a small electric heater and a used window AC unit.  Again, with the landlord’s approval, I installed the window unit in the wall.  Readers who think air conditioning in a darkroom is unnecessary have never lived in Texas!

With the help of my Dad, we painted the wet side and the ceiling of the little darkroom white.  It took at least 4 coats before the black stopped bleeding through!  I left the wall on the dry side behind the enlargers black.

I had bought an Omega Chromega B enlarger, a dichroic color enlarger for up to 6×6 negatives.  I had both the Omega and the Lucky installed.  At this point I was experimenting with color.  I developed color slides and was printing both slides and negatives.  However, color just never really “took” with me back then, so after this darkroom, I never set up to do color anymore.  

I also installed an extension telephone.  In the years before email, people would actually call you, and it wasn’t a robocall.  This proved valuable and fortuitous when I received a call about a job opening while in the darkroom one day!  I got the job.

After years in a bathroom, this little space was heaven.