tokyo camera style

May 17 2014

Tokyo Darkroom Style 2

Thomas Beswick has been living in Japan for a few years and recently sent me some pictures of his darkroom setup. His layout really makes the most of a small room with minimal furniture. Thomas writes:

I guess my darkroom may look a little different from conventional ones. Although it has all the basic features of a darkroom, it lacks a water supply and is used from a seated position. Because I live in Japan I am often very busy with work, skating or photography. This doesn’t leave me a lot of time to relax. With this in mind I created a more chilled out environment for me to print in.

Standing up for 3 hours in a darkroom can grind you down after a period of time but drinking tea in a low chair while listening to your favourite tunes is a good way to make it more enjoyable. The room itself is just a regular room with the light blocked out by a dark curtain. It is easy to set up and pack away which is also an added bonus for anyone who doesn’t have much space to work in.

I usually print until it starts feeling like work. On average I’d say that I spend 2-3 hours per session. In that time, I can usually print about 8 fibre prints or 12 RC ones. It really depends on what I’m printing. If I want to print a predetermined series, I will take longer, but if I’m printing as I go, I might not spend as long on each print.

Since my darkroom has no water supply I have a larger tray filled with water that I put my prints in after the come out of the fix. It’s a sort of holding tank- and once I’m done with the printing session I take the tray to my shower cubical for the wash. After that I’ll squeegee them with a cheap car squeegee on the walls of my shower room. It’s a typical Japanese style cubical which has two big smooth walls. After rinsing the prints, it is the perfect surface to squeegee prints on.

I dry my prints in the shower room as well. I clip the prints from a laundry dryer- it’s a plastic thing with a lot of clips- to my bathroom doorframe and leave a tray underneath for any excess dripping. For fibre prints, once they have dried I put them in a thick book and place a laptop on top as a kind of heat press.

Thomas has made an extremely informative darkroom / printing tutorial video that you can catch on Youtube. If you are even remotely interested in learning to print or set up your own darkroom I highly recommend watching it. 

Check out Thomas online here:

Website (tumblr)



If you’ve got a darkroom in Japan and would like to share it through Tokyo Camera Style, please send me an email. 

「東京暗室スタイル」始まります!手作りの暗室写真や説明募集中。自分のアパートや家でプリントをしている写真家達、ぜひtokyo camera styleに暗室の写真をアップさせてください。


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