The Bushwick Community Darkroom, which in July made a minor relocation following a three-fold rent hike on its previous space, is a hub for the area’s emerging photographers and artists. One of the few such venues in Brooklyn or Manhattan, the community darkroom was founded by Lucia Rollow in 2011. Rollow first ran the operation out of a closet in the basement of her apartment building, then moved to a larger space in the Loom building at 1087 Flushing Avenue, which happened to be managed by the same company. A significant rent hike earlier this summer led to an amicable relocation to a smaller space in the same building, with the expense of the move covered by the landlord.
The darkroom offers developing and print services, though Rollow told Hyperallergic that clients tend to opt for the developing service, then book darkroom time to print the photographs themselves. When she first started the project in the closet space, the darkroom’s capacity of one or two people a day quickly led to a six-week waiting list, at which point the darkroom was moved to the Loom building. Today that figure ranges from five to eight people daily coming by for developing and printing work. The business is set up as a sole proprietorship sponsored through Fractured Atlas, though Rollow hopes to one day incorporate as a nonprofit. Though she runs the darkroom full time, she relies on a cadre of volunteers, including 10 “members” who pay $75 and three hours of labor monthly for unlimited darkroom usage.
The space also presents photo shows and will be opening Light from the Darkroom tomorrow (September 14), which will feature work by seven emerging Bushwick-based photographers. They are “all people that live and work in Bushwick, mostly in analogue — whether in color or black and white or alternative processes — and maybe some inkjet,” Rollow said.