Downtown photographers crowdfunding for community darkroom

A GoFundMe for the Phoenix Film Revival seeks $5,000 to secure a space for a darkroom and studio in downtown Phoenix. (Courtesy of Daniel Iannaccone)

Phoenix Film Revival, a group dedicated to the art of film photography, is crowdfunding to build a darkroom and studio for the community’s use in downtown Phoenix.

Daniel Iannaccone, a local film and digital photographer, started the fundraiser to build a darkroom and studio for the downtown community of film photographers. This shared space would also provide workshops and lessons for those interested in film photography.

“I think this will be huge for the film community,” Iannaccone said. “This will be an opportunity to actually go into somewhere and see what other film photographers are working on, make connections and learn.”

So far a little over $1,000 has been contributed on the campaign’s GoFundMe, and many local film photographers offered equipment as donations. Iannaccone said his goal is to raise $5,000 to secure a location for a dark room and studio facility in downtown Phoenix.

Jeny Davis, who began to learn about the trade of film photography in high school, said the campaign is in the beginning stage of raising awareness and gathering community support. She said the realization that there is a need for a facility in downtown came when Iannaccone hosted a show of eight local film photographers at the Drive-Thru Gallery last year.

Iannaccone said interest among photographers at the Drive-Thru Gallery in a shared space located in downtown focused on film photography and processing sparked the initiative to create Phoenix Film Revival.

“It’s an art form. With digital it’s so easy, and nothing against digital photography because most of us shoot both, but I think that it’s like vinyl records, it’s more tangible. It’s something that you put effort into,” Davis said on film photography. “It’s something that you create with your hands… There’s something out there that people want this still.”

A rough layout plan of the dark room and studio facility. (Courtesy of Daniel Iannaccone)
A rough layout plan of the dark room and studio facility. (Courtesy of Daniel Iannaccone)

Phoenix Film Revival’s website is in its final stages of development, Iannaccone said, and will be a platform for photographers to connect and learn more about the campaign. A program charter, membership plans, studio rates and a general layout of the dark room and studio are under development.

Davis said they are considering government grants, but the campaign is fueled by community effort and contribution. Iannaccone and Davis expressed their hope the campaign will provide both beginning and professional film photographers a space to come together to discuss, share and learn about film.

Davis added the dark room and studio will be a place where the gap separating digital and film is breached — particularly between the young and seasoned generations of photographers.

“It amazes me to see the spectrum from high school age or younger into, you know, people into their 50s, 60s, it’s all across the board, which is in itself pretty awesome … it’s everybody all across this huge range to get together over one subject and participate. It’s really awesome to see that enthusiasm, and it’s really building,” Davis said.

While there is a dark room space located in Gilbert, Iannaccone said he does not want to compete with other facilities, but rather build upon the “diverse” downtown film photographer community.

“This is the best way to do it,” Christen Cioffi, a Phoenix-based film photographer and supporter of Phoenix Film Revival, said. “Something we all need but something that’s being contributed to by everyone. That’s why it’s so near and dear to me.”

An interest in film appears to be on the rise, Iannaccone said, and brings a little bit of photography history back into the spotlight. Iannaccone and Davis believe the fascination with film photography stems from both nostalgia and a desire for tangibility.

Despite Instagram filters and digital editing programs, “there’s something with film that you just can’t replicate,” Iannaccone said.

“You can do all these adjustments to digital to make it look like film but it’s just not the same, it’s not something tangible,” Iannacone said. “There’s something physical about film that you just can’t quite get with digital.”

People can contribute to Phoenix Film Revival fund on their GoFundMe page.

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