The Coachwerks Darkroom

The darkroom consists of Durst DA900 enlarger and all the equipment necessary for developing negatives and photographic prints. The darkroom is currently open to new members. The membership fee is £25 monthly, which allows for unlimited darkroom use. Sessions are booked via an online calendar and can be booked for any time period required i.e. if you want to book from 8.15 am to 2.30 pm you can do so. The fee also includes use of basic chemicals such as Stop and Fix.

Currently there are only facilities for black and white film processing but there are plans to integrate this with digital facilities. There is also interest in expanding facilities to allow for colour film processing and printing.

If you are new to film processing, although the darkroom does not facilitate training, a current member can run through the basics and from there you can develop your own knowledge and skills.

The Durst enlarger will print from 35mm, medium format and larger format negatives.

If you are interested in becoming a member please contact [email protected]


Inside the darkroom (the wet room)

Inside the darkroom (the dry room)

The Enlarger

The photoboard

Coachwerks article published in The Five Ways magazine January 2017

Rediscovering the soul of photography

Much as vinyl records have continued to spin through the onslaught of the digital revolution, where film was once the mainstay of photography, in a very short space of time, despite the danger of fading away, it has also held on to retain its focus.

There has been a darkroom at Coachwerks for a number of years, but earlier this summer there was a clear out of the clutter that had collected and with the help of some neat carpentry and a brush of paint, the darkroom space is having a fresh start.

A recent exhibition in London of the work of Lee Miller was a timely reminder of allure and power of film photography. With film there a real sense of a moment in time captured. Digital is so open to image manipulation that you are never quite sure how true the final image is you are viewing. Standing in front of one of Lee Miller’s images, you are seeing what she saw, held in that moment 70 years ago, mesmerized by the quality, detail, life and soul of the film image.

Film is also an excellent tutor, as it lends itself to teaching the interaction of light, film speed and camera settings important in capturing individual images.

The membership fee of the darkroom is £25 a month. This currently allows for unlimited darkroom use and includes some of the basic chemicals involved. The photography paper you provide yourself. Members book time via the online booking system.

Whether you are looking to return to the darkroom or you have never used a darkroom before, the darkroom is open to all. Although there is a learnt skill to printing it is in essence a simple process: an enlarger; three trays of chemicals; a sink to wash the prints and space for the prints to hang and dry. Once set up, you could be watching your first photograph form within minutes. As the print emerges there is the added sense of connection with the picture, a mix of photographic alchemy and craft, and as your sheets of negative and contact sheet grows, the files that hold them read as a book of images.

Although we don’t provide on-going lessons, one of the current members will be able to take you through the process and get you started.

Anybody interested in becoming a member of the darkroom can contact us at [email protected]