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NEWS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

End of an Era at HCC: Last Semester for Darkroom Training
7/16/2009

FREEPORT - Shooting photographs with a film camera, developing negatives in a darkroom and watching prints come into being under a soft, red light is the classic vision of photography that many people hold. But after the Fall, 2009 semester, film and the traditional darkroom will no longer be part of photography class at Highland Community College.

The decision to move beyond the darkroom and make photography classes completely digital was not an easy one, according to HCC photography instructor Sam Tucibat. "There's just nothing like an artfully-made, traditional black and white print," he said. "It's an excellent medium for fine art photographers, and we clung to darkroom processes as long as we could justify doing so. Now, the cost and availability of supplies is starting to pose a real problem for us. Also, when you take into account the negligible applicability of darkroom skills for students entering modern photographic professions, our reverence for traditional methods was trumped by practicality. It was simply time to acknowledge reality."

HCC darkroom
Lauren Koch, a photography student at HCC, develops a print in the colleges darkroom, which will no longer be used for instructional purposes after this fall.

The move has generated some controversy in the Fine Arts department where the photography classes are taught. The photographic purists amongst us expressed displeasure with the decision, Tucibat said. Some students just loved everything about the darkroom experience. Others, however, resented the amount of time spent learning legacy skills that they would probably never use once they left the class.

Local photographer, Dave Washburn, of Captured Memories Photography in Freeport said that moving the photography curriculum beyond the darkroom is a great thing, especially given the way the field is now. Its definitely a positive step for the college. Washburn added that digital processes are less costly than chemical processes for professional photographers, which is an important consideration for anyone just starting out in the business. Also, with his own fine art black and white photographs, which he produces digitally, Washburn is able to rival darkroom quality. If I cant match it 100 per cent, Im coming very, very close, he said.

The Fall, 2009 semester will be a transition semester in which both film and digital processes will be used in the introductory photography class, then the darkroom will become a thing of the past. Also this Fall, to help provide the new photographic skills the digital age demands, an additional photography class will appear alongside the introductory class on the Fine Arts schedule. Digital Image Editing With Adobe Photoshop was created for photographers, designers, business communicators, artists, hobbyists, or anyone interested in exploring the many facets of digital photography and digital image editing.



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