studio diary

Darkroom & Artist Books | Art School Diary #11

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It might sound a little strange but I came to a realisation this week that I do actually enjoy what I’m doing. Between all the stress of coursework and managing a chronic illness, it seems I forgot to enjoy my time at university. Between learning about the darkroom process this week and working on an editorial project it all just clicked. I really do enjoy graphic design and I’m glad I applied to university.

It’s the reason why this flare-up of my CFS is so frustrating. Because I don’t want to be stuck at home all the time. I want to be in the studio working around others and taking full advantage of the opportunity I’ve got. Instead, another week has gone by where I’ve missed a good amount of my classes because I was just too tired.


So last week I had an introduction to film photography, learned about developing film and borrowed a camera. This week I was back in the darkroom to actually develop the film. I’m really quite proud to say I managed the whole developing process on my own. The art school makes it quite easy, there is a full darkroom set up with a technician on hand and all the chemicals you need.

But the actual developing process is really simple. The film came out slightly the wrong colour so I made a mistake somewhere. But the photos turned out fine and I did it all by myself. I actually enjoyed this so much I am seriously thinking about getting a film camera. The specific camera I used, a Holga 120n is a very cheap Lomography camera. The whole point of these cameras is you don’t get a perfect photo. I also somehow messed up rolling the film which created partial double exposures.

MORE LIKE THIS: Experimenting With Cyanotype At Art School

I love the element of unpredictability with film photography. We’re so used to being able to see the image straight away. It’s strange having to wait and hope you got a good picture. But it’s something I really enjoyed getting to try out.


All the work I’m doing in the darkroom will hopefully become part of the current project I am working on. The brief was to create a publication about some part of modernism. I chose to look at photography and how artists used in camera techniques to create artwork.

The images and type should hopefully be combined into a publication. To be specific and artist’s book. An artists book is slightly different to a regular publication. Wikipedia defines it as a work of art which takes the shape of a book. It should be more like a well-refined sketchbook rather than a magazine.

I love editorial design so it’s been fun to get to do another project like this. My last project at college was very similar, celebrating David Bowie. I’m not quite as excited about this topic but it has been fun getting to experiment with photography. I’m just at the point now where I really need to start combining the images I have created with type. However the course I am on really emphasises the importance of typography. Meaning I have to spend a lot more time on that aspect than what I am used to.

It’s almost fun, having to focus on the really small details. Like the difference between an en-dash and an em-dash. But it’s a long process as well and time is something I don’t really have.


I’m writing this post earlier than I would normally (it’s only Friday afternoon). My next hand in is in a weeks time. And I still have quite a lot of work to catch up on. On top of that, I have a spread to design for the December edition of the student magazine. I had hoped to have a quiet weekend but it seems I will be doing coursework for most of it instead.


Course Induction & Matriculation | Art School Diary #1
Project Briefs & Lectures | Art School Diary #2
The Lives of Others | Art School Diary #3
Chronic Illness & Coursework | Art School Diary #4
Under Camera Artwork | Art School Diary #5
A New Design Brief | Art School Diary #6
Reading Week & GDFS | Art School Diary #7
First Project Hand In | Art School Diary #8
Risograph Printing & CFS Problems | Art School Diary #9
Photography & Essay Writing | Art School Diary #10
Darkroom & Artist Books | Art School Diary #11
Meeting With Disability Services | Art School Diary #12
Final Week Before Assessment | Art School Diary #13


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