Tremont Darkroom Opens to the Public

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Tremont’s Aperture Photography & Variety Store, a gallery and specialty shop for old-school shutterbugs, is opening its darkroom doors to the public.

Long known as a shrine to analog photography, the spot sells vintage cameras, develops film (remember film?), and exhibits everything from archival black-and-white prints to Polaroids. However, like most photo shops, its darkroom has been for staffers’ use only.

That meant that classicist photographers were stuck setting up darkrooms in their closets, or forced to deliver their film into the hands of strangers. But now, after attending a short how-to class, DIY photogs can make use of what Aperture's owner Scott Meivogel says is the only public darkroom in the region.

“There needs to be one," Meivogel says. "There used to be public darkrooms throughout most major cities, but now there’s no one who offers that. So our customers have been buying cameras and bringing in film to print, and we’ve been handing them CDs.

"Sure, they can get digital prints, but that’s not why they come in here.”

To gain access to the darkroom, customers must become Aperture members and complete a brief class with Aperture’s staff. Meivogel says the course is meant to make sure people know what they’re doing, and to familiarize them with the layout of Aperture’s studio.

The first class is set for this Saturday, August 4, at 2 p.m. and costs $15. Additional classes will be held September 8 and September 9, also at 2 p.m. Reserve a space by calling 216-574-8977.

Members will be able to rent the darkroom on an hourly or daily basis to develop film, make prints, and use the lab as if it were their own. Aperture will offer enlargers and equipment, along with top-of-the-line photographic papers and eco-friendly chemicals. The hourly rental fee is $14 with a two-hour minimum; or take a whole day for $75.

Further details, including a list of compatible lenses and image printing sizes, can be found on Aperture’s site. — Joseph Clark

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