Despite the unassuming exterior, there's a fine darkroom and a lot of great people behind these doors.
Who in their right mind would open a rental darkroom in today's digital age? No one shoots film anymore right? As for film and paper processing, that's for beard-wearing geezers with developer-stained fingers. These guys already have a darkroom at home, along with every book Ansel Adams ever wrote.
Apparently, a team of entrepreneurs in Philadelphia apparently didn't get the memo. They opened YO Darkroom (short for "Your Own Darkroom") a little over a year ago. Aside from renting time in their well-equipped photo lab, they also run a gallery, sponsor classes and hold events.
It helps that they're located in the heart of Philadelphia, a dense urban area that's easy to navigate by foot or bike, with good public transportation and packed with college students and young professionals. Their prices are reasonable and class topics range from photograms to screen printing.
The secret to their success, however, is community. Photographers and other artsy types like having a place where they can hang out and associate with like-minded folks. It's especially appealing to a guy like me, who lives in the 'burbs, works from home, and doesn't get out as much as he'd like.
I'm mentioning all this because there may be something akin to a YO Darkroom in your own city, town or neighborhood. If so, why not pay it a visit? They could use your support. If not, maybe someone like you could open one. Virtual communities are flourishing; why not real ones?