Photography is mostly a solitary activity, especially for photographers that use a darkroom to develop film. In fact it’s almost ideal that the photographer confines him or herself to a meager, overcast room with little to no ventilation and the deep glow of overhead amber lights. An excuse to further distance the artist from the outside world, fully submerging every ounce of energy and every square inch of developer paper into a detailed, and even more therapeutic process.
Harvey Wang is a New York based photographer and filmmaker that has been behind the camera for more than 30 years. The Southwest School of Art (SSA) hosted Wang during Fotoseptiembre, exhibiting “From Darkroom to Daylight,” an enormous project that includes a book, portraits set for gallery viewings, and a documentary film covering interviews from influential photographers from across the globe. If you walk into the SSA’s Navarro Campus you will find a distant hallway leading to the schools darkroom and photography studio, fittingly lined with Harvey’s portraits of photography living legends such as Sally Mann, Constantine Manos, and one of my personal favorites, Alex Webb.
The finished product of this work stemmed from Wang’s personal detachment and remiss of the analog process since his switch to digital photography in the early 2000’s. Harvey began interviewing 50 fellow photographers, print makers, and innovators such as Steven Sasson, the co-founder of the first digital camera made for Eastman Kodak back in 1975.
Along with the gallery, the Southwest School of Art hosted a film screening of Wang last week. With a packed room, the film brought lots of laughter and for many, a rekindling of a long-forgotten process.
The “From Darkroom to Daylight” exhibit will be shown until Nov. 8 at the Southwest School of Art’s Navarro Campus.
*Top image: The title of the Harvey Wang documentary appears on the screen. Photo by Scott Ball.