Vi­sion­ary plans for the dark arts


‘‘It's a rare thing, and a chance to pre­serve that and give life to it is what this project is all about.’’

A Queen­stown pho­tog­ra­pher is plan­ning to cre­ate a com­mu­nity dark room us­ing the old Wakatipu High School’s equip­ment.

Film en­thu­si­ast Paul Green pur­chased the school’s dark room, as it faced be­ing de­mol­ished when the school moved to a new site in Frank­ton.

The Wakatipu Com­mu­nity Dark Room would be a first project of its kind in New Zealand.

Queen­stown had a big pho­tog­ra­phy scene, but there was nowhere for pho­tog­ra­phers to hang out.

‘‘The wider art com­mu­nity is pretty well served.

‘‘There’s plenty of gal­leries, but there isn’t re­ally any­thing ded­i­cated to pho­tog­ra­phy,’’ Green said.

He wanted to keep the school con­nec­tion and use the com­mu­nity dark room for ed­u­ca­tional pur­poses.

Re­gional and in­ter­na­tional pho­tog­ra­phers would share their knowl­edge in sem­i­nars.

‘‘This could be noth­ing more than a dark room that peo­ple use to de­velop their own film and do print­ing at a base level.

‘‘But I have a big­ger vision for this.

‘‘I am en­vis­ag­ing a pro­gramme of vis­it­ing artists, ex­perts in pho­to­graphic pro­cesses, work­shops, stu­dios, lec­tures, talks, hands-on stuff.

‘‘We can also do lo­cal ex­hi­bi­tions and movie nights.’’

The room had 10 en­larg­ers and other film de­vel­op­ing equip­ment, which was ‘‘fairly mod­ern’’ and well main­tained.

‘‘It’s a rare thing, and a chance to pre­serve that and give life to it is what this project is all about,’’ Green said.

Wakatipu High School teach­ers and lo­cal artists had been ‘‘su­per sup­port­ive’’ of the project.

The room could fit in a 6-me­tre ship­ping con­tainer and needed to be re­lo­cated from the Gorge Rd site.

‘‘If there are any phi­lan­throp­i­cally-minded landown­ers out there who have space that would fit some­thing like that – we would love to hear from them,’’ Green said.

The ideal lo­ca­tion would be in Frank­ton or Queen­stown Cen­tral.

The Wakatipu Com­mu­nity Dark Room Project will hold a pub­lic meet­ing at Fluid de­sign stu­dio in Queen­stown on Fri­day at 6pm.

Ideas for the dark room’s re­lo­ca­tion and fund­ing are wel­come on info@wakatipu­dark­

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