Brooklyn Darkroom

Mission & Impact

Brooklyn Darkroom, a New York State 501(c)3, delivers on our mission of supporting analog photographers by providing photography and travel resources and facilities for dedicated artist practitioners in the form of artist residencies and community events.  Our program is unique, providing three specific benefits to each resident artist selected:

  • Use of a fully equipped Volkswagen pop-top camper “The Cyano-van” for up to one month
  • A stipend (currently $4,000) to cover travel, living, and materials expenses while traveling
  • Access to our analog darkroom in Brooklyn for development, printing, and finishing

We are dedicated to promoting analog photography particularly focusing on reparative histories, documentary work, collaborations, and visions from underrepresented backgrounds. We encourage the self-roaming freedom and self-determination of our artists. For at least one hundred years the American road trip has been a great mode for artistic production, a profound way for visual artists to map their ideas around America and its definition. We know there are many perspectives and ideas that have not been historically explored and we have an opportunity to support the alternative visions of our time. It is becoming exceedingly more difficult and expensive to work in film photography and it is an art form we wish to see thrive. We have found that most black and white film photographers are really longing for support and this is a strong way to help them produce and also promote the work.

In The Open Road David Campany writes, “free of the norms of the city and home, the open road is where day-to-day obligations and perhaps even the restrictions of social class might fall away. Character is tested, values are reviewed and for a while at least, alternative ideas are permitted to surface.” Our program's mission supports artists actively seeking alternative visions.

The pandemic and political climate have given renewed urgency to the American road trip. The provided camper van allows artists the most practical and self-sufficient way to travel. The Volkswagen full camper offers two beds including a pop top, a kitchen with sink, stove, refrigerator, a retractable awning, and extra battery power supply. We have an opportunity to eliminate the barrier for entry to thinking about the America that is out there today from many underrepresented photographers. By providing access to a self-contained camper van, our program allows resident artists greater autonomy and ability to explore further. If you can drive there, it becomes accessible. 

Our selected photographers document the nation with acute attention to what others take for granted. The inclusion of a financial stipend provides relief from the costs of travel or other work so that
residents can pursue work that might otherwise be impossible. Finally, by giving access to our darkroom facility the artists can produce the work and prepare for publication or exhibition. Our darkroom in Brooklyn is equipped to handle processing and printing of small, medium and large format film as well as digital scanning and archival color printing up to 44 inches wide. We also offer out of town residents an apartment for the duration of their use of the facilities.

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