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Noir Darkroom in Coburg is now one year old. Angela Cornish explains the story so far.
“What is this place?” is a question asked with brewing curiosity behind the eyes of nearly every fortuitous visitor to NOIR Darkroom. Sitting on the edge of Melbourne’s established art scene is Coburg’s only full time gallery, which has just celebrated its first birthday.
NOIR Darkroom is a multi-purpose space inclusive of artist studios, a gallery and darkroom. A community focused space for emerging, independent and professional artists. Here a DIY mindset and artistic expression is valued above tools and equipment. NOIR is a space for beginners and experimenters, supported by an expert knowledge of photography fundamentals in its owner Jessica Schwientek. She believes it is important for all photographers to experience early photography to better understand light and master the art of photography. Not to mention, some good old fashioned excitement.
On a sunny Autumn day, a moment of childlike wonder appears on the faces of those who’ve attended the latest Intro to Analogue Photography Workshop. As they unroll the 35mm film they’ve shot and developed themselves there’s ‘oohhs’ and ‘ahhhs’ but also a connection to a skill and practice that not all are familiar with in 2018. By offering a range of introductory workshops NOIR fosters a safe space where everyone is invited to learn and participate.
NOIR Darkroom has been a passion project for Jessica who initially funded her business by fundraising, crowdfunding and “a little irrational faith.” Jessica noticed as schools, photographic labs and commercial facilities shifted towards the digital market, it left a pool of artists and a growing film enthusiast community without professional and accessible spaces to practice and develop their work.
In 12 short months the space has flourished, connecting the arts community with the Moreland area and beyond, through: 28 exhibitions, 127 artists, 39 workshops, 4 long-term studio residencies, and 14 darkroom artists.
This April NOIR Darkroom celebrated it’s first birthday by exhibiting the works of over 40 artists. big SMALL (Works) Birthday Bash is multi disciplinary exhibition encompassing a diverse contemporary arts community. NOIR Darkroom is looking forward to a bright future, bringing art to the community and the community to art.