Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
The Swarthmore College Computing Society used a concept grant from SBC to create the Digital Darkroom, a resource for both serious and casual Swarthmore photographers. Mustafa Paksoy ’07 was the SCCS member in charge of the project. According to Paksoy, “on the surface the Digital Darkroom is a really sweet photo printer… for the photo enthusiast, the Digital Darkroom offers even more.”
Miles Skorpen ’09, one of the leaders of the Photo Club, agreed with Paksoy, stating that “the most important part to me, and, I think, to most people, is the printer.” The printer is capable of making borderless prints of all the way up to 13 X 19 inches.
Because SCCS is buying the ink, and Photo Club is paying two-thirds of the cost of the paper, said Skorpen, “people will be able to make 11 x 14 inch prints for around 50 cents each, which is dirt cheap. Usually online prints that size go for eight dollars or more.” Skorpen added that people who want to reserve their own personal paper should contact Photo Club, as they will be ordering supplies soon.
There is also a film scanner capable of scanning 35 mm negatives, slides, and medium format film. For members of the Photo Club, said Skorpen, “the film scanner is nice in that it allows people to easily digitize their negatives to cut down on storage space, to allow more extensive editing, and as a backup.” There are also two G5 computers installed with Photoshop and a Wacom tablet for retouching photos. To facilitate editing, Paksoy said, “the monitors on our workstations have been painstakingly color calibrated.”
The darkroom is an appropriate complement to the SCCS Media Lounge, which is often used by students for video editing projects. SCCS also lends out both still and video digital cameras. The idea for the Digital Darkroom has been around since Paksoy’s freshman year. When the Student Budget Committee was giving away concept grants for original projects last spring, SCCS and Photo Club made a joint proposal and received a three-thousand-dollar budget for their project.
Right now, those who want to use the darkroom have to come in during SCCS office hours when a staff member will be around to assist them, but Paksoy reported that SCCS will soon be offering Digital Darkroom training sessions. “Once you attend a training session,” said Paksoy, “you can check out the Digital Darkroom key from Public Safety and use the equipment at your leisure.”