Bushwick Community Darkroom
After graduating from college, Lucia Rollow started looking for a place to print her photos in New York, only to be put off by expensive and snobbish darkrooms. So she began her own operation in a storage unit in the basement of an apartment building. Unable to tolerate solitary confinement for long, Lucia opened it up to other photographers and dubbed the space Bushwick Community Darkroom. Allison Putnam was among the influx of regular visitors, and she eventually became Lucia's cohort in the communal photography effort. The two share a passion for old-school photo printing, despite the availability of apps that impart vintage effects digitally. As Lucia told Gloria Dawson of The Brooklyn Ink, “The darkroom was the reason I fell in love with photography, just the idea that you could capture this image and replicate it and watch it appear seemingly out of nowhere is incredible.”
Meanwhile, photographers Vanessa Gill and Cheryl Arent were working on a communal-darkroom venture similar to Lucia's, and in 2012 the duos joined forces to crowdsource funding for a real studio space. Today, all four ladies work out of their newly opened studio, where they keep film photography alive with professional printing equipment and cryogenic storage tanks for old cameras. With the support of the community, this quartet teaches classes and provides film photographers with affordable access to resources such as enlargers and a Fujimoto CP51 color processor.