Back in the day of black & white darkrooms, I was hands-on. Not because I liked it. No, it was because I was rarely satisfied with the output of a custom lab.
In my own shop, I could get exactly what I wanted for a fraction of the price.
Still, I was always resistant to activate the darkroom because I knew that the cleanup and breakdown would be time-consuming and tedious.
In order to maximize my output and minimize my pain, I employed an assembly line mentality when the time came for printing.
When I built each of my two personal darkrooms in different studios, comfort and efficiency were paramount. Both the Edwards Street and Washington Avenue spaces were large. This allowed me to spread out the materials and never feel like I was in a submarine. This minimized mistakes, which could be very costly.
Each one had great ventilation, carpeting, and sound systems which made the experience even more tolerable.
Not too long ago I was photographing some people on a factory floor in Missouri. The output was astounding. The people were creating things from their raw materials with precision. The environment was the opposite of oppressive.
It was certainly a place of work but not of drudgery.
About the author: I am Stephen Kennedy, an experienced photographer with more than 2500 completed sessions in all 50 US states.