The Dark Room Cairo in Downtown Cairo is spreading the word for analog photography with a range of free workshops throughout 2021.
Dedicated to analog photography and filmmaking, the Dark Room Cairo is developing more than just film. They're also developing plans. Big ones. 2021 is set to be a whole new year for them, with a rebranding and a slew of workshops focused on getting the Cairo community more involved in this slowly fading artform.
"People say analog photography is dead, but it's not," founder Mohamed Abdel Wahab tells #CairoScene. He began Dark Room Cairo with co-founder Omar Magdy in 2017, and has since been hard at work serving local artists. Even when those artists are able to develop film at home, they still turn to Dark Room Cairo to buy fresh chemicals from Europe, as they're not available locally anymore.
"The community is small in Egypt, but we're helping them survive with film," Abdel Wahab says. "A lot of art students have only studied film theoretically - they could never try it practically because universities don't have their own dark rooms anymore. The only one I know of is at Cairo American College, and we helped them re-open their dark room in the first place."
While the benefits of analog photography may be forgotten, Dark Room Cairo is keeping them alive in people's minds. "What makes film special is that they all have their own colour and style, and they never really get old. The cameras we've preserved from the 60s and 70s can still be used today, while digital cameras can become obsolete in years. And film itself can be archived forever, while digital files can become outdated. Studios burn down old film for silver, and we always try to buy them out to save them."
To get people more invested in the art, the Dark Room Cairo in Downtown Cairo is offering free workshops about developments techniques and alternate processes. They are also holding a raffle for the whole of March, where lucky winners are able to spend a full day in the dark room to observe the whole development process.