Welcome to the Darkrooms: Digital and Traditiona

8 min read

Deviation Actions

equivoque's avatar
By equivoque
The Need for Change
Creating and maintaining categories that meet the needs of audience and artists alike is always a challenge.  Photography, as it has been since its inception, is constantly changing, as its tools and methods evolve.  The introduction of the digital production and storage of images radically altered the implementation of photography forever, and while we do not encourage the general division of photography into traditional and digital, it is important to create spaces where photographers feel comfortable posting their work.  One way that we can address the needs of the photography community is to divide the darkroom into two subcategories, digital darkroom and traditional darkroom.  Since this popular umbrella category is defined by process rather than content, it does, in this instance, make sense to distinguish between the digital and analog tools that achieve the intended results.  In fact, photography gallery director Staged ran a poll staged.deviantart.com/journal/… in her journal, and the results were overwhelmingly in favor of creating a division between digital and traditional darkrooms.  We believe that the division will nicely serve two groups of photographers who define their work by the ways in which they create it.  The following of us were involved in the process of dividing this category into two and will be happy to take your questions and comments:

:iconequivoque: :iconstaged: :iconhellfirediva: :iconphotosbykev: :iconkuschelirmel:

Digital Darkroom
The addition of this category provides a space for photographers who use digital tools to finish their uniquely digital photographs.  Currently, these artists find that their pieces belong neither in photomanipulation nor in darkroom, as defined by processes that emulate what could be done in a darkroom.  While these images might be significantly enhanced by the use of textures, brushes, selective or global color adjustments, use of HDR, the stitching together of panoramic images, the use of the clone stamp to tidy up the photograph, etc., in concept they remain photographs.  A photomanipulation, on the other hand, is an image that has been composed of two or more photos to create something new. Examples of manipulations include putting a subject in a different setting by cutting the subject from its original photograph and using it in another, using so many textures that the original photo is no longer recognizable, creating new landscapes or scenes from a collection of photos.  What distinguishes the images to be located in this new category from photomanipulations is that the image processing is executed in such a manner that the focus remains on the photo and not on the manipulation.  Following are the techniques allowed and encouraged to be posted in Digital Darkroom along with some examples of pieces that would nicely reside in the digital darkroom:

Photography -> Darkroom -> Digital
  • Images containing one photo (images incorporating more than one photo belong in photomanipulation)
  • Brightness/contrast, Levels, Curves
  • Color enhancements
  • Addition of textures (credit must be given to providers of resources unless original textures by artist are used)
  • Addition of brushes (credit must be given to providers of resources unless original brushes by artist are used)
  • Use of HDR techniques and software

:thumb29924466: :thumb62902004: :thumb61971505:
sea ghost 05 by rob-art Amnesia by BaddogLtd walking... by Kaarmen
deznadajduit by dorothei Flowers can dance... III by JM3

Traditional Darkroom
Currently, film photographers find more and more that the space reserved for darkroom has been taken over by works created using digital processes and by digital emulations of what could be done in the darkroom.  The creation of this category provides a gallery where traditional pieces can reside among like pieces.  Those artists who use make use of the tools of traditional photography can place their images here, knowing that they will be seen in a context that allows their pieces to be prominent.  Following are the techniques allowed and encouraged to be posted in Traditional Darkroom along with some examples of pieces that would nicely reside in the traditional darkroom:

Photography -> Darkroom -> Traditional
  • Scans of prints from plates or negatives
  • Scans of plates or negatives
  • Moderate digital adjustments to remove dust or to fix brightness/contrast and color resulting from scanners

Pot sa accepta by niavaah Aware fully detached by zerocomplex :thumb56324052:  
Lex by matildamonroe Old friend by perry Old Woman of Prague by kevissimo
:thumb37141678: an afternoon in amsterdam by futurowoman summer by prismopola

We are always striving to make deviantART inclusive and to reasonably serve the overall wishes of the photography community.  Deviations currently located in the general darkroom category will remain there, however, you are encouraged to relocate your pieces to the new subcategory that suits your pieces so that they can better be found and appreciated!  We hope that all of you photographers out there who like to identify your work by how you achieved your results will enjoy the galleries refined to reflect the current trends in the post-processing of photography!  

equivoque, hellfirediva, and Staged
Photography is alive and well and living on the daily features pages!
© 2007 - 2021 equivoque
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Christi-Dove's avatar
Hope this thread is still being monitored. I have a question and I did read this article and others first before asking. For traditional darkroom the article states, "Scans of prints from plates or negatives" would belong. So does this mean if I scanned one of my old 35mm photos which creates a digital image and then enhanced it to remove noise, dust, adjust the color, and maybe a few other enhancements because the scan didn't turn out so well would this be Traditional or Digital Darkroom.

Well here is the photograph I am referring to [link] which I put into the Photography/Darkroom/Digital/Micellaneous Processes category. And here is what I finally did to the Niagara Falls photo which I actually put in Digital Art/Miscell./Landscapes & Scenery. I am not sure if either of these are technically in the right category. I am sorry I am new to the photography section and am more familiar with the Photomanipulation category which neither of these belong to.

Thanks so much for your time in reading and answering this. I want to be sure to understand in case I submit other deviations along these lines.
blifaloo's avatar
I had always wondered what darkroom was
FrenetikFred's avatar
Great news :thumbsup:
And moreover now, I know what Darkroom is :) and it seems to be a wonderful gallery, I really do love the few photographs you've "featured" in this article.
GalenAnderson's avatar
is there a gallery director for DARKROOM?
i was browsing there tonight (trad. DR is my favorite because it is what i spend my RL life doing) (yea, i have super night vision now, problem, in bright sunlight my eyes fail)
there is more MISCAT then anywhere else on DA

Sorry for the two postings, i was reminded of this article to ask this question.

also, could DA add a feature that would detect Meta Data and automatically block it from being put in traditional DR?
there is so much digital it is unbelievable.
GalenAnderson's avatar
I was wondering about the two images thing.
In my traditional DR i have been able to use two separate exposures to print one final piece. Granted it wasnt good, but it was darkroom.
If i uploaded that it would go in Photo > Darkroom > Traditional.
If i scanned the two negatives, then used digital tools to make the same final image where would it go?
Also, Dodge&Burn should be one of the things allowed in the Digital DR.
Thanks :D
Glad that there are now to catagories
ilsilenzio's avatar
that's wonderful news !
rikusgirl's avatar
This news aritcle was exquisite.
I definitely loved it.
Not only was it informing, but it was a pleasure to view the shots that came right along with it.
Great work:heart:
rikausse's avatar
Great great, I could bring back some of my photos to this category !! :dance:
Great explanation, very clear. You are doing a great job fellow admins. :)
Daemonworks's avatar
"Brightness/contrast, Levels, Curves"
"Color enhancements"

So, basicly, 90% of all digital photography now goes in one category. Especially with people who work RAW... (Note: white balancing = a colour enhancement)
znow-white's avatar
Just a thought after I have move my duo tones and islolated colour images,will the digital Darkroom cat eventually have the sub cats like nature,urban,still life etc???
equivoque's avatar
right now there are no plans include further categories under the two darkrooms. that would be like duplicating all of photography. eventually, the idea is to streamline categories. this was just such a desired change by so many that we decided to split the category. moving things out of darkroom to the proper subcategory will help your photos be accessible to audiences!
znow-white's avatar
That is fine I know myself quite some time ago had queries on the placing of certain images ,so looking forward to the streamlining...
But by moving the digitally enhanced images out of digital darkroom(duo tones and isolated colours) ,wouldn't that be classed as a miscat???..
equivoque's avatar
i think it depends on how you look at them. certainly, if something has textures and brushes, its best place is in digital darkroom. but other alterations that are less significant leave room for interpretation. it's how you feel about the piece i think and where you think it will find its proper audience. i hope i answered your question well enough.
znow-white's avatar
Yes you, have thank you for taking the time out and explaining :heart:
rawimage's avatar
Great. I'm fine with it. :nod:
equivoque's avatar
your pieces will be prominent in both locations!
beefarelli's avatar
Huhh flippin ZAH!

alexisbc's avatar
This is a great idea, though I must tell that I do agree with Wroth that I'll still categorise based on the content and not the way it was created. :)

I personnaly now shoot digital, but I've been shooting in film until this year.

I particularly appreciated the distinction you made between digital darkroom and photomanipulation.

I do not want to discredit the artist creating photomanipulation work, there is a lot of great work in that field and many great artists, but still, I'd like to share my view of that field.

As a photographer/director, my pride in creating work is that I've controlled every steps in the process of creation. When I make a shoot, I take the shot, then I process it myself in Photoshop. I just think that there is a lot of ''easy work'' in photomanipulation like : ''I took that cute girl shot by this artist, I took that creepy dark alley shot by that other guy and look, I've erased the background and placed the girl in the alleyway without any color correction...''

I repeat myself, I do not want to discredit this kind of art in any way, it's just that lots of people will pretend themselves artist just because they erased a background and switched it. People enhancing pictures with other elements, switching skies is fine, color correcting to change the photographic look entirely, I'm okay with that and I do give some of my photos a unnatural processed look. But I did all the steps in the creation process.

Photomanipulation can results in great work, like creating a background from multiple elements and then adding a subject over it, I'm fine with that :) . But as in everything, there is fancy food and fast food.

Anyhow, I'd like to have other people's views on this and I'll be happy to respond to you :)

Keep doing a great job everyone !

equivoque's avatar
those who create art using digital tools and post-processing should take pride in their accomplishments, and it is nice to have more than just location where they can display their talents. not all digital work falls neatly into one category. i respect the artists desires to place images in the way they see them. if someone sees their landscape primarily as a silver gelatin print and feels it is therefore a darkroom piece, that's okay with me. if someone identifies their landscape with the countryside they love, that is great too. to each his own as honestly as can be done in a constantly changing world!
alexisbc's avatar
These are wise words :)

Indeed, one can see his piece of art as the subject over the artistic work or the artistic work over the subject. :)

This was the first time actually that I had hit the News button at the top and now I do it every day :)

Thanks for creating and maintaining such a wonderful community!! :D
equivoque's avatar
thanks for these words of encouragement... which help me place a value on my efforts!
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