Feel old yet? This Stranger Things fan didn’t know what a darkroom was

Jul 29, 2019

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Feel old yet? This Stranger Things fan didn’t know what a darkroom was

Jul 29, 2019

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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For most of us who own cameras, we’ve at least heard of a darkroom, even if you’ve never been used one or been inside one. It’s been a part of photography for as long as photography has existed, and there are many still around today, despite the world going digital. A lot of people still shoot film, and there are plenty of darkrooms around the world you can hire, even if you don’t have your own.

One appears in Stranger Things quite frequently, and it’s somewhere we often see Jonathan go to develop his photos and make prints. One viewer, though, seems pretty confused as to what the hell this “red room” is. This viewer took to StackExchange to ask the question. Poor Ansel would be turning in his grave.

The question reads…

In Stranger Things, we frequently see Jonathan go inside this to “refine” his photos or something. I don’t quite understand what happens here.

He puts the photo in water, and somehow this makes it more clear? An example is in the first season when he refines Barbara’s photo and sees a little bit of the Demogorgon.

Is this an old film technique, and if so, what is it called?

Many of us will know that this room is called a darkroom and it’s where photographers develop their film and make prints. For many of the younger generation who’ve never experienced any kind of film photography, the unfamiliarity is quite understandable. Although, it’s still making the Internet, particularly on Twitter, feel quite old.

https://twitter.com/moaisadeadbird/status/1154809031892094977

Of course, this isn’t the first time teens have been challenged by tech recently.

Try not to feel too old, though. Film photography is on the rise, with many of the younger generation now starting to discover film’s unique process and aesthetic. Although there are few places that people can go to learn it for themselves, outside of YouTube.

But all is not lost. Harman, the company behind Ilford films has a database of public and private darkrooms all over the world, along with tuition. So, if you’ve been thinking about heading into the “red room” and learning what it’s all about, that’s a good starting point.

[via Stackexchange]

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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22 responses to “Feel old yet? This Stranger Things fan didn’t know what a darkroom was”

  1. Marco Peixoto Avatar
    Marco Peixoto

    Dark rooms aren’t used for like 20 years now?

    Expecting new generations to know what was used back then if they aren’t into Photography is being naive.

    1. Joost Avatar
      Joost

      If you go to decent art or photo-school (or even filmschool) you will see a darkroom – and learn how to use it, just to learn the basics of photography.

      1. Trino Pam Avatar
        Trino Pam

        Not many people go to Photography School….

    2. Ian Brace Avatar
      Ian Brace

      The new generation are just lasy and know nothing from before they were born.

    3. Marco Peixoto Avatar
      Marco Peixoto

      Ian Brace old people think like that…

    4. Garrett Jimenez Avatar
      Garrett Jimenez

      Marco Peixoto nope. I’m fairly young. This new generation are idiots. I mean, they eat tide pods and lick Ice cream and put it back on the shelf. For people who are always on their phones and live on the internet, they don’t know anything.

    5. Marco Peixoto Avatar
      Marco Peixoto

      Dont mistake an entire generation with some Internet freaks.

      I did tons of stupid shit in my day… difference was there was no Smartphones or Internet to spread them ;)

    6. Ian Brace Avatar
      Ian Brace

      I know about old technology it’s pure laziness or maybe attention seeking, as all they had to do was Google it.

    7. Jason Haddox Avatar
      Jason Haddox

      Ian Brace and yet, I’m somehow sure they at least know how to spell “lazy”

    8. Ian Brace Avatar
      Ian Brace

      Jason Haddox the Facebook Grammar Police, some of have been up since 5am and I made that comment during my 15min break. As S and Z are near each other I must of caught the wrong letter.

    9. Lok Cheung Avatar
      Lok Cheung

      Exactly. When I was small in the 80s I asked the same question to my parents seeing a darkroom on TV, and even they couldn’t explain clearly how that works.

  2. Ian Brace Avatar
    Ian Brace

    How is it the new generation have this thing called Google yet know nothing, and yet i know about stuff that happened before i was born in 1973.

    1. Dennis Raines Avatar
      Dennis Raines

      Because you have to actually roughly know what you’re looking for in order to use google. Putting in “red room” isn’t going to get you much.

  3. Christian Lynge Avatar
    Christian Lynge

    Young people should be forbidden. … :-D

  4. Chuck Diesel Avatar
    Chuck Diesel

    No wonder why the current season of Stranger Things has been so bad, if it’s being targeted to teens.

  5. Dunja Djudjic Avatar
    Dunja Djudjic

    Damn.
    First I got reminded that I was born the same year as Photoshop.
    Then I saw this.
    And after that, I went to have my eye vision checked. I DO feel old today :D

  6. Eric G Gagnon Avatar
    Eric G Gagnon

    I remember starting using photoshop 2,0… no layers and 30min wait for any corrections! :)

  7. Jack Stalnaker Avatar
    Jack Stalnaker

    Sheesh, we’ve all done stuff like this. We just didn’t have someone snapping a screenshot and putting in on other websites for people to make fun of. For all the people commenting “why didn’t they just use the internet to find out?!” You mean…like go on a website full of experts and ask the experts what something meant? If only in the screenshot they had done just that. Which, incidentally, is exactly how the rest of us found out what a darkroom was minus the website.

  8. Leemarc Lao Avatar
    Leemarc Lao

    It’s called a darkroom.

    Nowadays I just use Lightroom.

  9. g_disqus Avatar
    g_disqus

    It’s ok. I used dark room in my childhood, but I can’t send morse-style message by radio. It’s usual for all people of all times.

  10. Burt Johnson Avatar
    Burt Johnson

    Yeah… feel old… I have no idea what “Stranger Things” is… :)

    I have heard it mentioned, but never seen it (nor have any desire to). And yes, I worked in a darkroom for a decade before color darkrooms were even possible (in the 60’s), then briefly with a color darkroom at home (early 70’s) before I decided I didn’t like it (not enough control over images in those days) and dropped out of photog entirely until my wife gave me a Canon 5D on my 55th birthday (2005) and said “you need a hobby!”

    She created a new monster in the process, but after 33 years marriage at that point (and 47 now), she knew the odds of that, and grinned while my new photo studio took over 2 spare bedrooms, the hallway and the garage over the next couple years. :)

    Now we travel the world on photo trips and have a blast in retirement. Just returned from 6 months visiting 8 countries, and producing a photo/travel blog of our travels — mostly so we can remember them ourselves, though I am kinda happy to see over 2000 people now following our travels. (www.mindstormphoto.com).

  11. Stephen Cottle Avatar
    Stephen Cottle

    Obviously haven’t watched 50 shades