Like many photography enthusiasts, Lucia Rollow fell in love with the medium back when film was the dominant form.
"I started working in the darkroom when I was like 12 years old," Rollow says. "And basically ever since then I was like, this is something I need access to."
In 2011, after losing access to her college darkroom, Rollow set up a darkroom in the basement of her Brooklyn apartment for friends and neighbors to develop black and white film. With digital and phone photography taking off, Rollow's darkroom seemed more like a niche hobby then a potential business. Today, Rollow's darkroom is located in a 3,000 square foot warehouse, has 25 members and holds bi-weekly classes. Rollow was able to hire a full-time employee as well as a group of volunteers who work for free darkroom time.
Rollow's success story isn't an anomaly. Darkrooms are popping up all over the world and, according to Time Magazine, the film photography market is seeing growth after more than a decade of decline. Companies like Kodak and Fujifilm are producing more film and resurrecting once defunct products.
For enthusiasts like Rollow, shooting on film is not just done for the novelty. "The fact that it's a contained environment that your adding light to and then exposing to chemicals instead of coating the paper with something," Rollow says. "I think it gives it a greater sense of depth."
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