The Importance of the Darkroom In Photographic Education

By: Jill Enfield

This is some question! It astounds me that schools are even considering getting rid of their analog darkrooms. However, I know that several departments have gotten rid of what artists would deem irresponsible, so is this the way of the word? Getty is no longer taking negatives - digital only! Personally, I do not understand it. I feel that just because the computer came along and is an excellent tool, there is no reason to throw out the analog education. The computer is a tool - a tool that is important and useful, but not the be all end all of photography. There is a place for both and there is room for both. I guess I am stumped by the "either/or" question and do not understand why it should not be both! As someone that loves historical techniques, I also embrace the computer (well, I did come to it kicking and screaming, but it is ok now!). There are reasons for both. For me the best reason for analog is historical - I think it is very important to learn the beginning techniques and how we got to where we are. Even if the darkroom is taught within a historical context - it should never be lost.

Jill Enfield
Jill Enfield, one of this country's most experienced and respected handcoloring artists, is a fine art, editorial and commercial photographer. She has taught handcoloring and non-silver techniques at Parsons School of Design, The New School, FIT, NYU and ICP in New York, as well as in workshops throughout the USA and Europe. Her work is in the collections of RJ Reynolds Co., Southeast Banking Corp., Museo de Arte Moderno de Mediellin in Colombia, The Boca Raton Museum of Art and Hotel Parisi in LaJolla.