18/09/2017

I can barely believe it’s been almost six months I got my MFA in Photography degree (with all A and A+ grades!). Feels like it happened yesterday, feels like it happened in another life. The hardest aspect of being on your own is lack of external pressure. Deciding your tasks, your hours, your plans and goals sounds liberating, but tends to be quite scary, strange, directionless… and relaxing. However, when you’re a workaholic, it’s never going to be your case :) This summer I took maybe five days in total of real vacation, reorganizing my life all the remaining time, main focus being, naturally, the darkroom. My best friend and partner in crime Massimo and I made those two darkrooms in Florence, one small normal one, one big with vintage enlargers. You might have seen the story on YouTube, but in case you haven’t…

New work environment, all independent from school, did not turn out that easy to maintain. We were running into problems every single step of the way: floods, humidity levels, temperature, ventilation, short circuits… but an even bigger problem turned out to be darkroom equipment! When choosing my own, I realized just how many things are plain terrible! I accepted the facilities at uni, but my own space I wanted absolutely perfect (it still isn’t). And I am disastrously picky and attentive to tiniest details.

Mind that, Massimo basically has a camera and darkroom equipment store. So I have a choice no one does. I tried about six different enlargers (and refused to even try about twenty more), kinda liked one 4×5 DeVere and truly liked an IFF (which prints only up to 6×9 medium format, unfortunately). Timers are my personal pain too. But the easels! Mamma mia, what a disaster. First, I don’t know who had the idea of producing two-bladed easels. It’s pure nonsense. Second, even four-bladed easels are mostly ugly! How is it possible to create beautiful prints using equipment with zero designer thought? And prices were killing me. After I got an outrageously expensive, very pretty, brand new easel which turned out a pain to use, I got seriously angry and decided to make one of my own. Along the way, I came up with other devices that would significantly simplify my darkroom life (which is 80% of my general life). So currently we are making and testing prototypes, designing a bunch of potentially useful stuff and hoping it works out!