September 9, 2008
John H. Gohde Goes to College
John H. Gohde is a graduate of the class of ’69. He went to a private college in Virgina. Took about 18 credit hours during his first semester. And, paid a total of $2,100 for the entire school year, which included room and board.
John H. Gohde would like to ask President Bush: “If there is no inflation, then how come the current crop of college students are paying slightly more than $2,000 a year to attend a private college?”
John H. Gohde Got His Dream Darkroom
Joining the photography club at college in his Freshman year gave John access to a real darkroom. Not only was it bigger, but it had two really good features: a real darkroom sink and a professional grade enlarger.
A good darkroom sink is basically just a very long box with a number of different faucets in it that are designed for washing prints and dealing with darkroom chemicals.
A really good enlarger is big, heavy, and sturdy, has high quality lenses, and is capable of dealing with big negatives and making prints larger than 8 x 10 inches. You certainly do not want one that shakes, wobbles, or moves every time that you touch it.
Having access to a good darkroom that is ready to go 24 hours a day makes a big difference in the life of a photographer.
John did a lot of photography work for four years while he was in college. But all things eventually come to an end. And, for John his college life was no different. It is really amazing how you usually do not appreciate what you got until you end up losing it. Easy come, and easy go just about sums it up.
John H. Gohde Lost his Dream Darkroom
But, once he graduated from college his access to a good darkroom ended. It was back to the kindergarten level of photography. Living in Virginia, he could not even use his wimpy basement darkroom of his youth. Every minor photography project turned into a major hassle. In a very short period of time, John lost all interest in pursuing photography any further.
While Weegee was reported to have kept a full darkroom in the trunk of his car during the 1940s, most photographers need their creature comforts. Tiny negatives require electricity and a good enlarger to make big prints. While developing film could conceivably be done anywhere with the right film tank, good quality negatives requires controlling the temperature of more than one solution bath within a few degrees of each other. And, both negatives and prints that are not going to yellow have to be washed under temperature controlled running water for at least ten if not twenty minutes.
John H. Gohde was separated from easy access to a photographic darkroom. His life as a black and white photographer soon ended.
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