A place for me to share my recent work, random musings on photography and reflect on my thoughts, experiences, ideas and revelations.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Darkroom Time

Windmill ruin, St. Nicholas Abbey, Barbados

The other night I was working at my computer and heard my phone ringing.  I was in my office and my phone was in the kitchen, I was in the middle of a project and didn’t want to be interrupted so I ignored the call and let it go to voicemail.  I do that a lot, not to be rude, but because I believe strongly that managing interruptions is an important part of being productive.  I’ll close my e-mail and my browser when I’m trying to concentrate.  And if I’m in a meeting, having a face-to-face conversation or having dinner, the phone doesn’t have a chance.

A couple of nights later I was teaching my Lightroom class at The Light Factory in a room that is right next door to their darkroom.  As my class was wrapping up I had to take a projector into the classroom where the darkroom is located and struck up a short conversation with the instructor there, trading good-natured barbs about “film – what’s that?” and “Lightroom – what’s that?”  I found it fascinating that we were both teaching classes about photography, but using completely difference processes.

Later on I recalled both of the above events and I happened to think, “you wouldn’t have answered a cell phone in the darkroom, would you have?”  It helped me reconcile the idea of not answering the phone while I am in my own “darkroom.”  I’ve never worked in a darkroom so I can’t speak from experience, but I’ve read articles about photographers spending hours and hours in the darkroom, working on prints until they get them just right.  The ability to work uninterrupted just isn’t part of our vocabulary these days, and I think our creativity suffers for it.  Sometimes we all need to be able to – literally or figuratively – close the door, sit quietly in the dark and do our work, whatever kind of work it might be, without being interrupted by things that we can attend to later.

So, if sometime you call me and end up hearing my voicemail, remember that I might be “in my darkroom” and I’ll call you back when I’m done.

1 comment:

Donald brown said...

It occurred to me as I read this...The majority of my wet, chemical burns, film darkroom days were in my child-rearing days and between the job and babies, I rarely got into the darkroom before 10pm and was rarely prone to disruptions except occasionally my wife at the time would be so lonely that she would gently knock on the door and ask me if she could keep me company for awhile. Furthermore, I didn't have the foggiest idea of what an email was and can't remember having voice-mail to route my phone calls. Wow, those were the dark ages, in more ways than one!!