I should just warn you—TOP is likely to be quiescent for a stretch, as I work on setting up the darkroom. (I thought I should say, because the "are you okay?" emails have started up already. Whenever I get quiet, people who know me start to worry, which I guess indicates that when I am in fact okay I tend to be jabbering away.)
This is a bit embarrassing (couldn't I have at least cleaned up a little bit before I made this shot?), but this is the "before" picture of the area of the basement where the darkroom's going to be. The thing on the left is the old enlarger stand from my darkroom in my loft in Chicago. That darkroom was a small "powder room" or half bath. I removed all the bathroom fixtures. It was L-shaped, and the best place to put the enlarger stand was in the entryway. I had to squeeze past it to get in, but once I was in I had more room that way.
The area next to the enlarger stand was just slightly narrower than self. Having thought about it a little more, I think what I have marked as 6' in this diagram was actually 7', and what I have drawn as 4' was actually 5'. It seems to me the sink I had was nominally a 2' x 4' sink and was slightly longer than 4'. Whatever. You get the gist. I wouldn't have wanted to do 16x20s in that darkroom, but it was fine for 11x14s, although the developer tray had to go up on the shelf.
I had a Focomat IIc in there for a while. That made it crowded. The Focomat IIc took up most of the empty middle part. Very little room left for Yr. Hmbl. Phtgrphr. If you ever get a chance to see a Focomat IIc, you ought to. Not the greatest enlarger from a practical point of view, but just so awesomely overbuilt you can't help but admire it.
I have not done any actual work in the PFD* yet, but I have done a lot of thinking. Thinking is hard, so I have to go lie down every so often. Think a while, rest. Think, rest. As you perceive, it doesn't leave a lot of time for writing.
I've worked in some very primitive darkrooms in my time, and I think I could be up and printing by this afternoon if I really wanted to be. All you need for trays is a table. But I've decided to get a little fancy-pants this time around, so I am plotting some refinements for the PFD. So far these refinements are just in my mind, but they are taking up a lot of room in there. (It's crowded in there, too, mainly with things I am going to do and might not ever get around to actually doing.)
I've been thinking about the comments people made the other day about reverse snobbery. I think I might have a little of that. I actually kind of like crude darkrooms, because I like to be able to do really good work even in very un-fancy surroundings. I've heard that Edward Weston was like that—a few of his darkrooms were quite primitive, but his craftsmanship was superb.
In the "before" picture at the top, that's a Durst M601 on the old enlarger stand on the right, and a Durst Modular 70 BW and a Saunders/LPL 670 VCCE behind the punching bag. This enlarger is unquestionably the Rolls-Royce, but (well, like a Rolls-Royce) it's ridiculously expensive. I wish I'd kept the one I had—I got rid of it because it didn't fit in that darkroom in Chicago. If I were going to buy a new enlarger today I'm pretty sure it would be this one. Of course, people are not clamoring for new Enlargers these days. Records show that the last time any Earth-dwelling human actually bought a new enlarger was 3 months and 18 days ago, When one George Dunkelkammer of Bisbee, Arizona, bought an Omega because he'd always wanted one. But I thought I'd put in the links anyway.
More soon—just, as I say, slowly.
*Postulated Future Darkroom
Correction: The original version of this post said "Focotar II" instead of "Focomat IIc." Man, am I ever getting ditzy. If my memory were an employee, I'd fire it. Thanks to V. I. Voltz for the sharp elbow.
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Featured Comment by amcananey: "That Focomat is absolutely comical. Straight out of Dr. Frankenstein's lab...."
Featured Comment by Jammy: "The punching bag will come in extremely handy when they stop making your favorite paper and film. :-) "