Non-profit photography agency Darkroom Detroit has resumed in-person workshops and classes for people of all ages and levels.
Classes include photography and software programming classes such as introduction to film photography, introduction to color and black and white film processing, film scanning workshop, photography basics workshop, Adobe Lightroom for beginners, introduction to Photoshop, and more.
Javier Garcia, Executive Director of Darkroom Detroit, says they have always offered classes and workshops, but had to go virtual once the pandemic hit.
“In February of last year we began offering all of our programming virtually and on a pay-what-you-can basis,” Garcia says. “We were pleased to find that we continued to fill these classes and welcomed the opportunity to find new and safer ways to engage the community. Last week we resumed in person classes albeit with some hesitancy. We have moved to a fixed rate for classes so we can continue to pay our instructors a fair wage.”
Scholarships are available for every class. Darkroom Detroit members receive a 20% discount for all classes and workshop fees, and all students receive a 15% discount.
“We try to offer Intro courses regularly to help those who are new to photography and more advanced classes on alternative processing and image editing for the more experienced,” Garcia says. “We have a revolving team of instructors from college professors to local photographers that lead our programming. The classes range in length from two hours to two days depending on the depth of the instruction.”
Garcia says they regularly provide materials needed for each class, as well as make lists of materials beforehand.
Although in-person classes have resumed, Garcia says masks are required regardless of vaccination status. Due to another increase of covid cases, he says they are fully prepared to go back to virtual classes and workshops.
Darkroom Detroit’s mission is to provide a safe and accessible space for artists to receive education, supplies, and visual literacy. Garcia says he believes that Darkroom Detroit has a duty to maintain this accessibility in the community.
“Although I feel we have moved past an era of ‘ruin porn’ defining how the world sees our community, we are still seeing parachute reporting and dishonest story-telling driving images that do not tell an honest story of where we live and the people who make it a great place,” he says. “I want to continue providing a safe and open space to have organic conversations about responsible image making and honest visual storytelling without policing what fills our instagram feed.”
In addition to re-opening Darkroom Detroit to in-person classes, they’ve also collaborated with Inside Southwest Detroit in June to open a film vending machine called Art Snacks Detroit at the Vector Lab. At this location, people can purchase film, zines, limited shirts, and more. They also have a film drop-off for processing provided by Darkroom Detroit.
“Darkroom Detroit has a broad mission by design. We work to increase access to photography in Detroit,” Garcia says. “That means listening to our community and growing with the needs of artists and community storytellers. As the city grows so does the need for responsible and honest storytelling and I hope Darkroom Detroit can continue to play a part in making pathways to our community members growing as visual storytellers.”