LOST AMONG THE chemical bottles and the apparatus, I find myself stuck in another seemingly arty and cool craft, which proved to be an extremely intricate and tedious process. For anyone who has dabbled in film cameras, they know that this process seems glamorous, although in reality it is nothing special. The House of Photography (HOP) now situated at DECK really managed to debunk the whole idea of a darkroom for me.

HOP is actually made from a shipping container allowing it to be a hassle-free pop up darkroom wherever it goes. Hosting several workshops, HOP prides itself in being a photo outreach programme that is about creating opportunities for any photographer of any proficiency.

Time passes quite quickly in HOP’s darkroom as I quickly learn the secrets of making contact prints out of negatives. Part of my childhood rituals was to run off eagerly with my father’s 35mm negatives to the photo developer. Being able to learn what seemed like magic up till now is really something not possible if not for the establishment of HOP. Learning how to perform the magic myself meant that anyone probably could learn it. The instructor, Mark, broke it down to us in simple steps though it still a sport of patience and trial and error.

Our final product was a double-exposure shot taken by Sara Lau. While the shot is rather well composed, enlarging it ourselves is a bigger part of the process that people seem to ignore about photography nowadays. While understanding simple rules such as the rule of thirds might help, it is after all the hard work in the dark room that truly decides the beauty of the shot.

If you think it is time to learn the magic that is photography, do head down to check out HOP’s workshops as they will be at Prinsep Street till the end of February!

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