The photography classes are planning to use digital photography next year rather than continue using the darkroom. Although this plan is not definite, the Art Department is currently working with the administration on funding issues.
The school already offers a digital photo class in which students use digital cameras and computers to process their works of art. Meanwhile, Photography I and II students use manual cameras with film and hand-develop their photos with chemicals.
If the digital plan goes through, students in Photography I and II would still use cameras with film, but scanners would be used to upload negatives onto computers, and the use of the darkroom would be eliminated.
Several computer would have to be purchased, and the darkroom would most likely be converted into a lighting studio, allowing students to take pictures indoors.
According to Photography I and II teacher, Lindsay Hern, there are several reasons to change the photography classes to a digitally-based curriculum.
“Initially, it will be more [expensive] because we have to buy computers, but in the long run, it should be less expensive and a lot healthier,” Hern said. “A lot of chemicals that you use in a darkroom aren’t very good to be breathing all day long.”
Keeping up with technology and giving students useful skills are also significant reasons for this change.
“Most things are going digital,” Hern said. “For most students, when they work in a traditional darkroom, they do it while they’re at school, but then as soon as they’re out of school, most people don’t have access to a darkroom so they don’t really use the skills anymore.”
Current photography students have mixed feelings about the potential change.
“The whole fun part of photo is going into the darkroom and actually developing the potos and learning the process,” junior Tavia Norheim said. “This year we’re doing not only darkroom but we’re also doing a section of digital, so we get both.”
Others are more optimistic.
“I think it’s good because it will save paper and save trees,” said freshman Ben Malenka, a Photography I student. “It would be easier to adjust [photos]. If you screw up with chemicals, then your final print will come out really bad, whereas with digital you can undo.”