After four years on the light side (not using a Hasselblad Flextight if you can surely is a sin somewhere, in some countries or religion, surely), I knocked twice, pushed the revolving door, smelled the new dust and old brown lights and entered the darkrooms. The brown amber lights look a little bit like sodium lights, actually, just very, very dim, and turned away, always.
I had to do it in the dark. I had to do it in the dark in my head, too, because I had forgotten even how an enlarger looked like. I had no idea what lens to use. What the colours should be set up at to start with. I had completely forgotten how to use anything in a darkroom.In about twenty minutes it was like I had never stopped colour printing. I remembered how much to tweak the Yellow and Magenta exactly like I used to, how to make sure skies come out as much as they can and as little as possible.
The two short bip at each end of the print entering the RA4. The last long one you wait for with one foot in one foot out. The metallic strain of the old spring on opening the negative slot. The long plastic sliding doors, like a never ending curtain pulled.
All in the dark, with those few amber lights looking up, ces cousins bien placés et bien plus sobres que la lampe a sodium qui, si elle est a la rue, prend tout le monde de haut et ne se presente sous ses traits les plus fins quand ca lui chante uniquement.
It's so hard to belong. This is one place where I feel I belong. Fully.
And as silly as it sounds, it really feels a little like love, being alone in the darkroom.
There's nothing to prove to anyone when you're printing. I'm not. It's nothing necessary. Nothing important. Nothing that has to be done.
It's a space where without even trying to concentrate, nothing disturb the focus on the colours, on the image. On the work. For a few hours, there is nothing but the print. No hunger, no thoughts, no job, no pain, no joy, no family, no partner. The print you are working on, that's it.
Of course there's always the thought of C. about. It's seeing this specific Kodak yellow that does it, everytime. The paper boxes. I still think of him on his last days, printing, too, in the same darkrooms.
It's there and it's fine. It's almost alright, I guess, to be remembered like this.