Students embrace the roots of photography

In the age of digital photography, a group of Carolina students are sticking to the art’s roots and working in a darkroom. (video by Johnny Andrews, UNC Communications)

In an era when photographs made with cellphones and digital cameras have become the norm, some Carolina students have chosen to embrace the art form’s more analog past.

In the “Darkroom Photography” course, taught by assistant professor Gesche Würfel, students use older cameras that require film to operate and spend hours tucked away in the Hanes Art Center darkroom to make their photos come to life.

Offered through the College of Arts & Sciences, the course allows students to express their creativity through a format that many have forgotten.

“I prefer film photography to digital because the process is very different,” said rising senior Julia Klein, a studio art major. “I really get a chance to slow down and I realize that I take very different types of photos on film than versus digital.”

Many students find that hands-on approach of slowing down and thinking more critically about every image they take to be a rewarding experience.

“I took this class to expand my understanding and perspective on photography and, since I’ve been in it, I’ve really enjoyed the process,” Klein said. “There’s much more gratification when [a film print] comes out. You have gone through so many steps by that point that you just really love it and care for it more than a digital photo.”

Story and video by Johnny Andrews, UNC Communications