Dark room practises & Safety

when making black and white prints, a safe light is used in order for the user to see the work area. Since the majority of  light-sensitive paper react to only blue, or to blue and green light, a red or amber coloured light can be safely used without exposing the paper to harsh light that will affect the paper. film rolls must be kept in absolute darkness until the prints are properly fixed at the end of the film developing process (as they are sensitive to light completely).

dark rooms are also used to load film in and out of cameras, which requires complete darkness. if a dark room isn’t available, you can use a changing bag (this is a small bag with sleeved arm holes designed to be completely light-proof and used to prepare film prior to exposure or developing).

in most dark rooms, the enlarger apparatus, that projects the image of a positive onto a base, controls the focus, brightness and amount of light that is exposed to the light-sensitive paper. A sheet of photographic paper is exposed to the enlarged image from the negative, or in the case of creating a photogram light is exposed onto the light-sensitive paper whilst objects are arranged on the paper itself.


working in the dark room you have to be aware of the hazards and how to avoid them, and god forbid if accidents happen you have to be able to handle the situation correctly. wiring in a darkroom hatch chemicals and substances are used in developing processes so knowing the main harmful substances hazards is important from this website I found (http://www.hse.gov.uk/toolbox/harmful/index.htm) what the main hazards of harmful substances are:

  • What are the hazards?

  • Some substances can cause asthma or other diseases, including cancer.

  • Many can damage the skin, and some can cause serious long-term damage to the lungs.

The effect can be immediate, such as dizziness or stinging eyes, or can take many years to develop, such as lung disease. Many of the long-term or chronic effects cannot be cured once they develop.

What do I have to do?
The law requires you to adequately control exposure to materials in the workplace that cause ill-health. This is the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH) and means:

  • identifying which harmful substances may be present in the workplace in the case of darkroom practises this is chemicals located in the middle of the room and in trays so tongs and/or protective gloves are to be used and worn to prevent injury, irritation or any harm whilst working in the darkroom.
  • looking at what measures you have in place to prevent this harm and deciding whether you are doing enough, i believe that when knowing you will be around chemicals for a long time one must wear a mask and gloves and use tongs too.
  • providing information, instruction and training, training and instructions are provided in our college to everyone on the courses to avoid any injury and accidents trying to ensure that everyone is as safe as possible and knows what they are doing at all times.

rules of the dark room which everyone follows but are mostly common sense in the workplace:

  • to ensure safety in the darkroom everyone is to know where everything is off by heart (as this is crucial as darkness disables the ability to see everything perfectly).
  • chemicals are to be used with care when in the dark room, tongs and protective gloves are to be used and worn, in order to avoid irritation from chemicals and/or corrosion over time.
  • to avoid a slip hazard when taking wet work out of the dark room, get hold of a tray and bring it to the water bath and place things into the tray with no dripping across the room.
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