Darkroom 101 & 102 - An Introduction to the B&W Film Darkroom

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Come and experience the magic of Analogue Photography. Our two-part, hands-on workshops, explore the basics of Black and White film-based photography; from the making of the image to the processing of film and printing the images. With this weekend workshop series, the CPB Foundation is excited to open its new community darkroom for the first time. Whether you're a seasoned photographer or a complete novice, this workshop series is designed to help you develop and expand your skills. 

To find the complete details on the course please click here.

Darkroom 101 - Shooting & Developing Film 

Batch 6: Friday, October 13th to Sunday, October 15th 2023 

Batch 7: Friday, November 17th to Sunday, November 19th 2023 


Workshop Cost - Rs 4,500 per person for Darkroom 101

Student Discount - 25% against valid student ID

Rent a Film Camera: Rs 600 for 48 hours (T&C apply)

Group Size - Minimum 4 up to a maximum of 12 participants.


Venue: CPB Foundation, Kotivakkam, Chennai.


Darkroom 101 - Schedule

Friday - Presentation and Classroom Practice

4 pm to 7 pm - Welcome Note & Introduction to Film Photography

Each participant will receive 2 (two) half rolls of 35mm black and white film to shoot and develop. On day 1 we will help you load the first roll into your camera. You will have the following morning to step out and shoot the roll. 


Saturday - In Lab Demo & Hands-on practice

12 pm to 12.45 pm: Demo on Film Development

[participants must complete shooting the roll before 11 am]

1 pm to 3 pm - Lab Hours - Developing - 1st roll  

3 pm - 3.30 pm - Demo - Scanning

4 pm to 7 pm - Lab Hours - Scanning

All participants will receive a 2nd half roll of film to load, shoot, develop and scan before 4 pm on Sunday. 


Sunday - Lab Hours & Slideshow with Group Discussion

10 am to 5 pm - Lab Hours 

6.30 pm to 8 pm - Critique & Discussion



Dakrooom 102 - Contact Printing & Enlargements

Batch 4 - Friday, December 8th to Sunday, December 10th 2023

Workshop Cost - Rs 5,500 per person for Darkroom 102

Student Discount - 25% against valid student ID

Group Size - Minimum 4 up to a maximum of 8 participants.

Student Discount - 25% against valid student ID

Venue: CPB Foundation, Kottivakkam, Chennai.

Darkroom 102 - Schedule

Friday -  Lab Orientation & Demo on Contact Printing

4 pm to 5.30 pm - Welcome Note & Introduction of Concepts

6 pm to 7 pm - Demo on Contact Printing


Saturday - Introduction to Enlargements

10 am to 12 pm - Lab Hours 

12 pm to 1 pm - Demo - Making Enlargements

2 pm to 6 pm - Lab Hours - Making your first enlargement


Sunday - Making Final Prints & Exhibition

10 am to 1 pm - Lab Hours - Fine-tuning prints

2 pm to 4 pm - Setting up of impromptu exhibition

4.30 pm to 7 pm - Open House - Exhibition open to guests


Who is the workshop for?

This workshop series is open to anyone interested in film photography over the age of 16. Participants are required to have a film camera to attend Part 1 of the workshop and/or developed film negatives to attend Part 2 of the workshop.

Participants should ideally have a basic understanding of photography including how to expose an image with manual settings - shutter speed, aperture and ISO to make the most of this workshop. If you are not familiar with this material or would simply like a refresh - consider signing up for a pre-workshop refresher course on Thursday, May 25th 2023 at no additional cost.

About the Mentor:

Aishwarya Arumbakkam (b. 1988) is a multidisciplinary visual artist who works across photography, filmmaking, and drawing. An artist from Chennai, India she graduated with an MFA in Studio Art from The University of Texas, Austin. She studied at the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad and at Pathshala, Dhaka. Arumbakkam was honored as one of the ‘Ones to Watch’ by the British Journal of Photography in 2019. In 2020, she was awarded the Magnum Foundation Photography and Social Justice Fellowship. Her work has been exhibited at Testsite, Austin (2023); The South London Gallery (2022); The Visual Arts Center, Austin (2022, 2020); and Ishara Art Foundation, Dubai (2021).


About the CPB Community Darkroom:

We are at a critical juncture in human history. With the birth of promptography, we are now in a new age of imagery generated by Artifical Intelligence where the sanctity of the photograph is in question. As if a billion images an hour made on millions of mobile phones was not enough, now a mere thought can generate high-definition images in just about any style you can imagine. In response, the desire to return to the roots of the photographic medium grows stronger by the day. 

The CPB Community Darkroom has been established at this critical juncture as a hub for the experimentation and practice of analogue photography in its many avatars. Serving a diverse range of interests from film and traditional darkroom printing to alternative printing processes, the Darkroom looks to attract varied audiences from across Chennai and beyond.

  • The darkroom will be open to members as well as the public via a booking system and will be able to provide readily accessible stocks of chemistry, film and paper. 
  • The darkroom will offer regular introductory and advanced workshops in all areas of film photography as well as alternative printing processes like cyanotype, van dyke brown and salt printing and many others. 
  • The darkroom will serve as a research hub for experimentation in analogue photography and will put out freely available articles and videos on the subject.
  • The darkroom will offer a range of products that include re-spooled film rolls, experimental film chemistry, alternative printing kits, pre-coated papers, digital negatives and more.
  • The darkroom will offer commercial film development, scanning and printing services including alternative printing services.
  • The darkroom will be available for resident artists to work on projects and experiment with historical photographic processes.