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 email@example.com