The dangers of losing the traditional photographic darkroom and neglecting film-based photography are highlighted in a new campaign launched by Ilford Photo called ?Defend the Darkroom?.
Ilford Photo is keen to show that film and digital photography can ?coexist as complementary creative art forms?.
?For too long now the darkroom has been slipping down the agenda of educational institutions, regardless of continued support from photo educators and those responsible for establishing the photo-education curriculum,? warned Ilford Photo?s marketing director Howard Hopwood.
?The signature of the darkroom is the physical control over the image ? the art of the developing process. Skill and creativity in the darkroom is as much a part of photography as the taking of the picture.?
Ilford aims to raise the profile of the darkroom by bringing it to the attention of the ?digital generation?.
In this way it hopes to ?inspire new ideas, enthusiasm and skills among a new breed of photographers?.
Among those backing the move is Matthew Finn, a photography lecturer at Thames Valley University. ?It is up to me and other photo educators across the country to also make sure it remains a widely used medium and not a mere specialist niche interest,? he said.
?If this was to happen, photography would lose an entire dimension.?
Hopwood added: ?Darkroom photography is not standing still. It is not a relic of a bygone era. It is very much a part of the evolving world of photography.?
Ilford?s plans include launching a Photo Instructor Newsletter for educational establishments across the UK and continued sponsorship of the ?travelling darkroom?, a project launched last year to promote black & white photography at schools and colleges.
The firm also intends to sponsor talented students to help encourage darkroom use.
Ilford will also launch a series of ?Darkroom? masterclasses designed to ?promote and inspire the creative process?.
Formed in 1879, Cheshire-based Ilford became famous for its black & white film, paper and darkroom chemicals.