First Assignment

This was the picture that locked in my interest in photography. I think I was in Junior High School at the time and had just started using my grandfathers old camera, a manual Mamiya-Sekor SLR, with threaded manual lenses and a roll of Tri-X black and white film. This camera was not anywhere close to the equipment I carry today. It had a manual film advance and a needle based light meter in the view finder. I ended up getting some great shots with that camera. I had my own darkroom set up in my grandmothers basement where I developed all of my film and processed all of my prints. Yes, my grandmother was a saint who overlooked the caustic smells of D-76 and Dektol rising from her basement. She also spoiled me with unlimited snacks.

I still prefer the work I did in that darkroom over anything I have done using a computer. You truly earned your results and it forced you to be a better photographer.


Technology has eliminated the basement darkroom and the whole notion of photography as an intense labor of love for obsessives and replaced them with a sense of immediacy and instant gratification.

Joe McNally

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1 thought on “First Assignment”

  1. I too miss the darkroom. Yes, you did earn every victory. Many things could go wrong but when you did get it right it was a great feeling!

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