Magic of the Darkroom, Old-school B&W Film Photography

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Instructor Barry Umstead

The world of photography has gone through a dramatic metamorphosis over the past couple of decades.  Making a photograph in a wet darkroom from a film negative is on its way to being considered an alternative process, akin to 19th century processes such as tintypes or cyanotypes.  But we’re not there yet!  

This five-week workshop will cover the very basics of old-school B&W film photography. We’ll start out going over the rudiments, including how to use a camera and its meter to get a well-exposed negative.  Students will then learn how to process their film to get negatives and then how to use those negatives in the darkroom to make a photographic print. Join us and discover the magic that happens in the dark. Materials fee covers one roll of film, a gray card, and a package of 25 sheets of 8x10"" photo paper to get started.

No Prerequisite.

BRING TO FIRST CLASS: Working 35mm Film camera.  If you have the user manual, bring that too.

Sign up for extra time in the Darkroom! Check out our B&W Darkroom Open Lab times!


$30 materials fee paid to the instructor
5 meetings
Room 106


Instructor Bio:

Barry Umstead has been making Black & White photographs since before most of his students were knee-high to a grasshopper.  When he took his first Beginning B&W Photo class, Lyndon Johnson was in the White House so, yeah, he’s been doing this awhile.  While he cannot claim to have studied with Ansel Adams, he did once say hello to Ruth Bernhard in a local coffee shop. 

He has taught photography classes and workshops for several establishments in the SF Bay Area, including UCBerkeley, the Bay Area Photographer’s Collective, and, most recently, the much-missed RayKo Photo Center.  His own B&W photographs have been shown and published locally and internationally and were acquired by a regional art museum for their permanent collection.

Barry is looking forward to luring all sorts of students, newbies and old hands alike, to the gorgeous Fort Mason setting to introduce or reacquaint them to the awesome magic of making photographic prints in a traditional wet darkroom.  After all these eons, he is still truly, madly, deeply in love with the art form and is dedicated to spreading his love far and wide.