Though the magic of old-school photographic techniques and chemicals, our Desert Darkroom allows us to create unique works of art, from start to finish, all handcrafted on the playa.

For a darkroom to be a darkroom it obviously has to be dark. Starting with a large, portable storage container, each peephole of light is painstakingly plugged. This is done to provide a safe environment to cut photosensitive paper, load the pinhole cameras, and wet process the large works of art.  

All chemicals, water, equipment, and materials are assembled to create an efficient and productive workflow. Under the soft glow of darkroom safelights, photographic paper is gracefully removed from the cameras and dropped into an oversized tray of developer. Gently agitated by hand, the vision from the playa presents itself slowly. Gradually the vision recorded by the sun reflecting off the artwork and people of the Burning Man community is revealed.

When the image detail looks pleasingly perfect, the paper is plunged into a stop bath of vinegar to halt the developing process. In true wet darkroom tradition, the paper is next transferred to a fix tub and washed with water several times to remove residual chemicals. Behold, the finished photograph is hung to dry, ready to be shared and enjoyed on and off the playa.

There is no enlarger or film in the Desert Darkroom.  Yet sometimes, contact prints are constructed on the playa. Positive photographs are made using the original print like an old school film negative.  Under the Desert Darkroom safelights, an exposed and developed paper print is carefully placed atop a sheet of unexposed photographic paper. A bright light is turned on for just the proper length of time to expose the paper below. The second print is then run through the development process and vola! a positive is print produced.