A good friend and fellow photographer, Kei invited me to use his darkroom for a day. I had "overtly hinted" in our previous conversations that I was interested in printing some color negatives, and he was kind enough to provide me with the opportunity.
He has a nice studio in Shinjuku, one of the central areas of Tokyo, and the darkroom is in a tiny little closet there. It had been almost 7 years since I last stepped foot in a darkroom, but the whole feel of it all came back so quickly that even I was surprised.
One of the biggest things that I was looking forward to, was printing a couple of portraits of my Mother that I had shot on my 4x5 camera. For technical reasons I am unable to scan these, which is what I usually do with negatives, so thus I had yet to see what the images looked like.
The prints came out beautifully, with rich, smooth tones and amazing detail. It was so much fun working in a darkroom again, it is such a joy to carefully create prints with just a light bulb, a lens, and your own two hands. Also, I feel there is something special about a traditional darkroom print compared to an inkjet print from a scanned negative. It's not that one is better than the other, but just different, kind of like listening to music from a CD or an LP record.
Afterwards, we brought out the beer, Kei cooked up some pasta and we sat down and talked photography for several hours... Good times.
BTW, in case you don't know what a 4x5 camera is, here is mine.
While I was printing, Kei was setting up strobes for a shoot he had the next day. Here's me as a "stand in" although the model would be a young female...