Painting with Light
04 Jun 2011

Painting with Light

In terms of hippie obsessions, wheel love has never left room for much

04 Jun 2011

In terms of hippie obsessions, wheel love has never left room for much else. Photography though has always been there lurking, waiting for the opportunity to be the number one obsession, every now and then succeeding even. Together I guess they’ve played a big part in making sense of a hippie’s life in general, so for the story to be complete some stuff on photography is required.

As a kid, borrowing my mum’s 126 Instamatic, I photographed my pets and anything else that was deemed to be important. If it happened to be on the TV, I’d photograph it as it appeared on the TV screen. Looking back, given the cost of processing film, my folks were incredibly incredible in their tolerance and support.

It wasn’t until I left home though the shutter bug really started to bite hard, and by the time I headed off on my solo MTB adventure in 1988 I was kitted out with a Pentax MX SLR and a heap of Kodachrome 64.

I’ve always loved the definition of photography as painting with light which back in the days before digital cameras and computers lead to only one place – the dark room. I got hooked on darkroom work in 1989 while at The Creek Photo Service, in Falls Creek. During the Winter season by day I’d work as a photographer on the ski slopes, by night I’d work in the dark room. It wasn’t long before I had my own color and B&W darkroom at home, often to the dismay of the darkroom widows AKA girlfriends. Just like the well known quote from Lydia in Beetlejuice:

My whole life is a dark room. One. Big. Dark. Room

By the mid 90’s PC’s and Photoshop were on the scene and it was already clear that the days of film and dark rooms were coming to an abrupt end. In spite of the chemicals darkroom work was great fun, and while technology has made photography far more accessible, you can’t help but feel some of the romance, mystery and art of creating images has been lost along the way.

For some reason I’ve always enjoyed making goofy time exposure shots. Give me a sparkler and a flash and you’ve got one happy hippie. Those were the days — turn off the lights,  inhale the chemicals and drift back to 1989…

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  1. nicole jeanne wood January 12th, 2013 1:51PM

    wassup digihippi? My name is nic. I came across ur site during a search for painting with light in a darkroom. I am a student at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, working on my bachelors in Photography. I missed class Thursday, and in my process of copying the notes I missed, there is a term for “Painting with Light”; only defined as “in a darkroom with a camera, painting with light.” I have seen the concept before, and am anxious to try it myself, however was a bit thrown off by the ‘in a darkroom’ portion of the definition. I may be misreading darkroom for a dark-room, but was intrigued to investigate more, all the same. It’d be great if you could fill me in more on anything you know about painting in a physical darkroom. Or just let me know if you believe I am misinterpreting. Okay, well gotta roll, back to homework. Have a good one!

    ~nic

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