About the Darkroom
VisArts’ darkroom is the largest publicly accessible darkroom in the Commonwealth of Virginia. We support traditional black and white photography processes.
Please check the studio’s online calendar for alternative processes, such as cyanotype, tintype and ambrotype. Alternative process shifts will be listed there.
(804) 353-0094, ext. 226
Open Studio Schedule
The open studio schedule is updated for each class session. Please note that times are subject to change.
- To use this studio, you must agree to abide by VisArts’ general studio policies as well as these studio-specific rules.
- When entering the darkroom, check that no one is using the space before turning on the fluorescent lights. Always turn on ventilation fans when working in the dark room.
- Do not use cell phones in the darkroom. The light from your cell phone’s screen can expose photo paper.
- For your personal safety, please remove or tie back any loose clothing or long hair while using chemicals and darkroom equipment. Be sure to wash your hands at the end of your session.
- All work left on the drying rack for longer than one week will be collected and stacked in a bin, which is located in the photography classroom.
- Basic black and white chemistry is provided for printing and film developing for all studio users.
- All users are expected to provide utilize their own camera.
- Students receive some paper and film as a part of their class fee.
- Open studio users must provide their own film and paper.
- Fixer is never to be poured down the sink. It should be disposed of, by a studio monitor or instructor, in the barrel located next to the sink.
Equipment + Tool Usage During Open Studio
- All open studio users are welcome to use all film developing equipment, enlargers, chemistry and darkroom equipment as well as the computer, printer, and UV light box in the classroom space.
- Ask permission if you are exposing and printing large format pieces; the studio monitor can provide advice on how to best accommodate you in our space.
- Black and white photography processes are allowed at all times during open studio. For alternative processes (cyanotype, tintype, ambrotype, etc) check with your studio monitor about a designated separate space.
- Do not mix chemistry yourself. Please ask the studio monitor for assistance with this. Notify the monitor if chemicals are expired and need to be replaced.
- Immediately report any chemical spills and malfunctioning, broken or missing equipment to the studio monitor.
VisArts’ darkroom is equipped with 15 enlargers, temperature-regulating sinks and all chemistry and tools necessary for traditional black and white photography.
A classroom adjoining the darkroom includes a film-loading room, an iMac and inkjet printer, a light table and a set of studio lights.