In August, my cousins came from Pittsburgh to spend two weeks at the cottage nextdoor. It was an upended month already, as I had my dad at the cottage with me and also his cat, who was living out her last moments (she is now in the valley behind the cottage with the other beloved pets that went before her). But I managed to take a few days off while my cousins were here and we had plenty of communing, stories, wine, tequila, and excellent dinners together.
In any case, they bestowed upon me a load of darkroom equipment, for which I’m extremely grateful. Trays, a clock (I love those darkroom clocks), an enlarger, books, more. I haven’t unpacked it all, and I’m still not sure if I’ll build an actual darkroom in the basement or just cover light sources and take over the bathroom every now and then. Now, all I really need is chemicals, time, patience, and the guts to do this.
I’ve spent time in a school darkroom, but I still find the process daunting. Exhilarating, but daunting. It’s easy to make mistakes, and then a roll you may have lovingly shot, or that you have big plans for, just fizzles. That thing that you witnessed that just won’t happen again, that you feel so lucky to have caught on film–you have to prepare yourself for the possibility that your favorite old camera malfunctioned, or that the film wasn’t loaded right or stored correctly, or that you’ll totally just open the lid of the tank in the middle of the developing process (yep, I’ve done this) or something equally foolish, and you’ll have nothing to show for it.
I’m being dramatic, though. It’s just film. It’s just pictures. It’s all a learning process. I should chill out. I can do that, I think.