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A public darkroom serving New Jersey.  Located in Newark, we will offer classes for adults and teens and open darkroom hours.
A public darkroom serving New Jersey.  Located in Newark, we will offer classes for adults and teens and open darkroom hours.
A public darkroom serving New Jersey. Located in Newark, we will offer classes for adults and teens and open darkroom hours.
113 backers pledged $10,703 to help bring this project to life.

About

$10,703

113

Obscura Darkroom:  A public darkroom serving New Jersey. 

Obscura Darkroom, located in Newark, will be the only public film darkroom currently in New Jersey.  We will offer classes for teens and adults, open darkroom hours, memberships, and a gallery space focused solely on analog photography.  Read below for more information...

Obscura Darkroom:  the Vision

My vision for Obscura Darkroom is for it to be a welcoming, inclusive space which promotes film photography in NJ, while simultaneously being a good neighbor to the local community. Plans include classes for home schoolers, summer sessions for teens, and activities for children, as well as adult classes.  Obscura will also be a creative center, hosting events focused on film photography.  We will be a comfortable and pleasant environment in which to spend your time, with a seating area so you can wait during drying time and chat with others.  I am excited to use my skills and experience in the darkroom together with my passion for teaching others to promote film photography in New Jersey.  

My Background:

I first became involved with film photography in high school in 1989... I was photo editor of the yearbook and school newspaper (nerd!), and also focused on my own art.  After college, I had no more access to a darkroom, so I left the medium for 2 decades.  On the brink of turning 40, I rediscovered my love for photography by taking a continuing education class at the Art Academy of Cincinnati.  I subsequently took this class multiple times, and also built my own tiny personal darkroom in the second bathroom of my apartment... with my enlarger on the vanity, and using my bathtub to process prints.  While it was great having my own little darkroom, it was even better to have access to a professional space where I could experiment, have adequate room to work, and collaborate with others.   

Me and My Enlarger
Me and My Enlarger

Why Now?  Why Here?

After moving to New Jersey in 2014 and joining the Film Shooters Collective, much to my dismay, I found that there were no public darkrooms here.  I had to go to Brooklyn to use facilities, as my own darkroom space in my NJ apartment was too small, and had no access to running water.  Earlier this year, I had some time off from my work as an in store designer for IKEA, and began brainstorming about possible career changes.  During a discussion with a friend, I was asked, "What do you want to do?"  I responded, "Teach people how to work in a darkroom."  A-ha!  Obscura Darkroom was born!  I have received positive feedback on the project from members of both the Film Shooters Collective, as well as the Film Photography Project and Negative Positives Film Photography groups.  After being mentioned on an FPP podcast episode in July 2018, interest in Obscura exploded, and I hit the ground running.  In August 2018 I quit my "day job" to focus solely on making Obscura Darkroom a reality.  

What will the money be used for?

Starting up a darkroom is an expensive project.  I will be funding most of the construction myself but still need lots of support to purchase equipment and supplies.  Besides my own two enlargers, I have received donation promises for 3 more.  My goal is to have 8 b/w enlargers (at least 2 for 4x5) and 2 color enlargers.  I'm also looking for a color print processor, so Obscura can offer RA 4 printing.  The other major costs to be covered are darkroom sinks and silver recovery systems, as well as all the bits and pieces that make up a darkroom.  Ebay and Craigslist will be my go to's, not just for financial reasons, but because I believe in giving new life to used equipment.  There will also be a retail component to Obscura... film, paper, film developing kits, etc. will be offered to make it very convenient for the customer.  

Rewards:

Rewards need to have value for the backer, and I've put a lot of thought into what Obscura offers.  There are reward levels at various price points, and for various interests, whether you are a beginner or experienced darkroom user, a long-distance supporter of film photography, or just want a cool t-shirt.  Below are some examples of the rewards...

Obscura Darkroom T-shirt 100% Cotton
Obscura Darkroom T-shirt 100% Cotton
Obscura Darkroom Tote Bag 100% Cotton
Obscura Darkroom Tote Bag 100% Cotton
Image 1 of 5 "Catch the Ball" 8x8 gelatin silver print
Image 1 of 5 "Catch the Ball" 8x8 gelatin silver print
Image 2 of 5 "Random Chair:  Asbury Park" 8x8 gelatin silver print
Image 2 of 5 "Random Chair: Asbury Park" 8x8 gelatin silver print
Image 3 of 5 "Leaf in Hand" 8x8 gelatin silver print
Image 3 of 5 "Leaf in Hand" 8x8 gelatin silver print
Image 4 of 5 "St. Mark's NYC" 8x8 gelatin silver print
Image 4 of 5 "St. Mark's NYC" 8x8 gelatin silver print
Image 5 of 5  "High Line Walkers NYC" 8x8 gelatin silver print
Image 5 of 5 "High Line Walkers NYC" 8x8 gelatin silver print

Location, Location, Location:

***UPDATE: 10/15  Just signed a lease for a location in Newark NJ!  We have a home!  Check out the updates section for more info.***

I am looking for locations in Newark and Jersey City.  It's important that Obscura is located near public transportation, not just from New Jersey, but also from Manhattan.  It's also very important that the darkroom become a part of an up and coming neighborhood which supports the arts.  Due to funding delays, the location isn't set as of the start of this Kickstarter campaign... stay tuned for updates here on Kickstarter, as well as on our Facebook page and website obscuradarkroom.com 

Risks and challenges

While there are certainly advantages to being the only public darkroom in New Jersey, there are disadvantages, too. Having no local competition means that Obscura Darkroom is venturing into the unknown. All signs point to success: the website obscuradarkroom.com continues to get multiple hits daily... people are very interested in it, and are continuously connecting with me to share their excitement about Obscura. However, I am breaking new ground with this.

As a first time business owner, I have taken a seminar with Rutger's Business School in Newark to learn the fundamentals of starting a new small business. I have and will continue to network with local film groups, as well as with any and all similar darkrooms in surrounding metropolitan areas, gaining both an audience of potential customers as well as strengthening ties in the East Coast film community. I will mostly fund the startup construction myself, so I'm in this for real. This Kickstarter will help tremendously with obtaining equipment and supplies, and I appreciate everyone who donates!

I'm excited for construction... plumbing and electric and carpentry, oh my! I have experience in managing construction projects and working with contractors in my previous work life, and hope to leverage this experience during the construction of Obscura. My goal currently is to be open by January 2019... hopefully sooner!

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Support

  1. Reward no longer available

    Pledge US$ 10 or more About US$ 10

    FSC member donation

    Attention Film Shooters Collective Members! Contribute towards naming an enlarger and a spot on the Obscura Wall of Fame! Exclusive to FSC members. Thank you so much for your support!

    Includes:
    • FSC donation
    • Contribute to the official FSC sponsored enlarger
    • Contribute to the official FSC sponsored wall of fame plaque!
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    Reward no longer available 11 backers
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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    Obscura stickers, magnet, and button!

    Get stickers, a magnet, and a button! All items feature the Obscura Darkroom logo.

    Includes:
    • Stickers, magnet, and button, all with the Obscura Darkroom logo!
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    7 backers
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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Obscura Darkroom T-shirt

    How stylish! Wear your own Obscura Darkroom t-shirt! 100% cotton.

    Includes:
    • 100% cotton
    • Sizes from S-3XL
    • Black t-shirt with yellow Obscura logo
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    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    Obscura Tote Bag

    Be the envy of all film photographers when you carry the Obscura Darkroom tote bag! Use it to haul your printing supplies to and from the darkroom!

    Includes:
    • 100% cotton
    • 19" x 15" x 6"
    • White with black details, and the Obscura logo in yellow
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    10 backers
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 40 or more About US$ 40

    Individual b/w film processing lesson 1h

    Extended through the end of the campaign... get an individual lesson in processing your b/w film! Bring your 35 mm, 120, or 4x5 film and you'll learn how to process step by step. You provide the film, we'll provide the rest... negative sleeves included!

    Includes:
    • Individualized attention
    • Private lesson
    • 1 hour lesson
    • Learn how to process 35mm, 120, or 4x5 b/w film
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    1 backer
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Obscura t-shirt swag bundle

    T-shirt, sticker, magnet, and button PLUS a special surprise bonus thrown in... could be a pen, could be a small handmade print of my choice, could be both, etc ... All items will have the Obscura logo on them.

    Includes:
    • 100% cotton
    • Sizes from S-3XL
    • T-shirt, sticker, magnet, and button
    • Special surprise bonus swag!
    • Black t-shirt with yellow Obscura logo
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    12 backers
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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    T-Shirt and Tote Bag Swag Bundle

    You'll be the best dressed film photographer with your very own Obscura t-shirt and tote bag! Additional goodies includes stickers, magnet, and button! Special surprise swag thrown in, because you're awesome!

    Includes:
    • Special surprise bonus swag!
    • T-shirt, tote bag, stickers, magnet, and button!
    • Tote Bag is a roomy 19" x 15" x 6"
    • T-shirt comes in S-3XL
    • T-shirt and tote bag are 100% cotton
    • Black t-shirt with yellow Obscura logo
    • White tote with black details, and the Obscura logo in yellow.
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    Pledge US$ 100 or more About US$ 100

    Individual B/W Darkroom lesson 2 hours

    EARLY BIRD SPECIAL!!! Get acquainted (or reacquainted) with the black and white darkroom! Individual lesson includes darkroom orientation. I will guide you step by step through your first print! 8x10 RC VC paper will be provided, all you need is a black and white negative!

    Includes:
    • Ages 18+
    • Learn basic darkroom skills
    • Gain confidence in the darkroom
    • EARLY BIRD SPECIAL
    • Individualized attention
    • 2 hour private lesson
    • 8x10 RC VC black and white paper provided
    • Just bring your negative!
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    Limited 5 backers
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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Put your name on the Wall of Fame!

    Here's your chance to make a huge impact on Obscura Darkroom... and in return be immortalized on our Wall of Fame! Your name (and a brief quote if desired- family friendly of course) will be placed in a visible area for all to gaze upon. Backers at this level will also receive lots of Obscura swag... and our eternal gratitude.

    Includes:
    • Special surprise bonus swag!
    • Plaque with your name or favorite saying...
    • Join our Wall of Fame!
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    Limited 3 backers
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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 125 or more About US$ 125

    1 month membership

    EARLY BIRD SPECIAL!! Purchase a one month membership now for Obscura Darkroom, and save $25. Membership includes unlimited use of darkroom facilities during business hours, dedicated storage space for your printing supplies, and best of all, opportunities to participate in members' only gallery shows! Try it out!

    Includes:
    • EARLY BIRD SPECIAL
    • Facilities orientation included in membership
    • Dedicated and secure storage space for your darkroom supplies
    • Opportunities to participate in members only gallery shows
    • Unlimited use of darkroom facilities during business hours
    • 1 month membership at Obscura Darkroom
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  11. Select this reward

    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    Hand printed 8x8 photo image 1 of 5

    Receive a hand printed black and white gelatin silver print by Jennifer Zehner. 8x8, ready to be framed. Image 1 of 5 "Catch the Ball." Limited edition of 10.

    Includes:
    • Hand printed gelatin silver print
    • 8x8 unframed print
    • Image 1 of 5 "Catch the Ball"
    • Black and white photograph
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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    Hand printed 8x8 photo image 2 of 5

    Receive a hand printed black and white gelatin silver print by Jennifer Zehner. 8x8, ready to be framed. Image 2 of 5 "Random Chair: Asbury Park" Limited edition of 10.

    Includes:
    • Hand printed gelatin silver print
    • 8x8 unframed print
    • Black and white photograph
    • Image 2 of 5 "Random Chair: Asbury Park"
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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    Hand printed 8x8 photo image 3 of 5

    Receive a hand printed black and white gelatin silver print by Jennifer Zehner. 8x8, ready to be framed. Image 3 of 5 "Leaf in Hand." Limited edition of 10.

    Includes:
    • Hand printed gelatin silver print
    • 8x8 unframed print
    • Black and white photograph
    • Image 3 of 5: "Leaf in Hand"
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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    Hand printed 8x8 photo image 4 of 5

    Receive a hand printed black and white gelatin silver print by Jennifer Zehner. 8x8, ready to be framed. Image 4 of 5 "St. Mark's NYC." Limited edition of 10.

    Includes:
    • Hand printed gelatin silver print
    • 8x8 unframed print
    • Black and white photograph
    • Image 4 of 5 "St. Mark's NYC"
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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    Hand printed 8x8 photo image 5 of 5

    Receive a hand printed black and white gelatin silver print by Jennifer Zehner. 8x8, ready to be framed. Image 5 of 5 "High Line Walkers NYC." Limited edition of 10.

    Includes:
    • Hand printed gelatin silver print
    • 8x8 unframed print
    • Black and white photograph
    • Image 5 of 5 "High Line Walkers NYC"
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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    Name an Enlarger!

    You read that right... you can name an enlarger in the Obscura Darkroom! We'll put up a plaque with your name, the enlarger's name, a nickname, or an inspiring quote of your choice... family friendly of course.

    Includes:
    • Special surprise bonus swag!
    • Plaque with your name or favorite saying...
    • Sponsor one of 10 enlargers...
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    Reward no longer available 7 backers
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  17. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 200 or more About US$ 200

    Group B/W Darkroom Crash Course 4 hrs

    EARLY BIRD SPECIAL!! Save $50 by registering now! Learn how to use a darkroom. This group crash course will teach you how to develop b/w film, use darkroom equipment, and how to print your photographs. It's like boot camp, except it's fun! Each session is limited to 6 participants, so you will be sure to receive individual attention. Just bring at least one roll of b/w film to develop, and the photo paper of your choice... let Obscura handle the rest!

    Includes:
    • EARLY BIRD SPECIAL
    • Gain confidence in the darkroom
    • Learn basic darkroom skills
    • Small class size guarantees individual attention
    • 4 hour group class on film processing and darkroom skills
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    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    Film Closet Dedication

    Ever wanted a really small room named after you? Now's your chance! For $300 you can have our film closet named in your honor. There will be a plaque with your name, an alias, or a quote (family friendly of course) picked by YOU! There will only be one film closet, so act fast! Bonus Obscura swag included.

    Includes:
    • Special surprise bonus swag!
    • Plaque with your name or favorite saying...
    • Name our film closet!
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    Reward no longer available 1 backer
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    Pledge US$ 375 or more About US$ 375

    3 month membership (over 15% discount!)

    EARLY BIRD SPECIAL!!! AVAILABLE TO THE FIRST 10 PEOPLE!! Pre-purchase a 3 month membership. Membership is usually $150/month, so you get a discount by beating the rush! Membership includes unlimited use of facilities during business hours, opportunities to participate in members only gallery shows, dedicated storage space for your printing supplies, and a facilities orientation.

    Includes:
    • 3 month membership at Obscura Darkroom (a $450 value)
    • Unlimited use of darkroom facilities during business hours
    • Opportunities to participate in members only gallery shows
    • Facilities orientation included in membership
    • EARLY BIRD SPECIAL
    • Dedicated and secure storage space for your darkroom supplies
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    Limited 1 backer
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    Pledge US$ 500 or more About US$ 500

    3 month membership and SOLO gallery show

    EARLY BIRD SPECIAL!!! AVAILABLE TO THE FIRST 5 PEOPLE!! Pre-purchase a 3 month membership, and as a thank you, receive a discount on membership AND get a SOLO gallery show for your photographs! Includes an opening night event at Obscura Darkroom, gallery space reserved for your photographs for a month, and an opportunity to sell your work! Shows will be reserved in the order in which the memberships are received, starting January 2019, and rotating monthly. Membership includes unlimited use of darkroom facilities during business hours, and opportunities to participate in group shows. Membership is usually $150/month, so not only do you get a discount... by purchasing in advance you also guarantee gallery space reserved just for you!

    Includes:
    • 3 month membership at Obscura Darkroom (a $450 value)
    • Unlimited use of darkroom facilities during business hours
    • Opportunities to participate in members only gallery shows
    • One month SOLO gallery show for your photographs
    • Opening night event at Obscura Darkroom
    • Facilities orientation included in membership
    • EARLY BIRD SPECIAL
    • Dedicated and secure storage space for your darkroom supplies
    Less
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    Limited 1 backer
    $
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    Pledge US$ 1,000 or more About US$ 1,000

    Angel Level Donation Only

    Donation only.

    Includes:
    • Donation Only
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Funding period

- (30 days)