The Sustainable Darkroom
First Fridays are our informal gatherings/sharings, open to all. They started life as a physical place to meet up for a shared lunch followed by a live or occasionally remote presentation by an artist or group. Since May 2020 we have been gathering online which has taken away some of the social aspects but opened First Fridays up to a much wider and geographically diverse audience. Each event is on the First Friday of the month starting at 13.00 and finishing at 14.00 (UK time).
We’re grateful to our guest curator Myka Baum and to the members of the Sustainable Darkroom for their input to this session.
Myka is a visual artist concerned with the fragility of nature and the overlooked. She works with experimental camera-less and lens-based photography often with the assistance of the organisms that are the subject of study juxtaposed with small found or made sculptural objects. Previously based in London, since Brexit Myka is working across both UK and Münster, Germany.
The Sustainable Darkroom is an artist-run research, training and mutual learning programme, equipping cultural practitioners with new skills and knowledge to develop an eco-friendly photographic practice. We aim for a total transformation of the way photographers work, think, and exist in the living world. Engaged with a present understanding of ecology – the Sustainable Darkroom is one of the most contemporary forms of photography to date.
Taking its form in workshops, talks, symposiums, training sessions, publications and residencies, we are currently leading the movement in challenging the environmental impact and sustainability of photography. In 2021, we launched the world’s first physical darkroom space run on the principles of our movement. This year, we also opened Hot Compost, the first exhibition space exclusively for sustainable photographic works.
The Sustainable Darkroom has given talks and workshops both online and in person across the world including: The Photographers Gallery, The Royal College of Art, Slade School of Art, University of The Arts London, The Science Gallery Bengaluru, The Photography and Video Show, Centre for Creative Photography of Finland, North East Photography Network, Experimental Photo Festival Barcelona, Filmwerkplaats Rotterdam, and Endangered Species Coalition Washington DC.
We have been featured in numerous international publications and podcasts, including The Lissom Berlin, Amateur Photographer Magazine, Photoworks Photography+, 35mmc, New Classic Film Podcast, Texture Magazine Berlin, and The Photo Ethics Podcast.
Founded by Hannah Fletcher in 2019, and run in conjunction with Ed Carr and Alice Cazenave.
Hannah Fletcher is an artist working with and researching the many intricate relationships between photographic and not-so photographic materials. Intertwining organic matter such as soils, algae, mushrooms and roots into photographic mediums and surfaces, Fletcher questions the life cycle and value of materials by incorporating waste from her studio back into the system of making. Working in an investigative, ritualistic and environmentally conscious manner, she combines scientific techniques with photographic processes, creating dialogue and fusions between the poetic and political.
Her work has been exhibited worldwide, including Finland, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Ireland, Spain and the UK.
Since 2019 Hannah has been teaching and mentoring in sustainable art practices, guiding practitioners through material usage, process innovation, waste activation, participation in systems and cross pollination between industries and practices. Hannah has taught at venues including The Science Gallery, The Royal Academy, The Royal College of Art, The Photographers Gallery, Slade School of Art, University of the Arts London and Tate Exchange.
Hannah is an Associate Lecturer at Chelsea College of Art and is represented by Land Art Agency.
Alice Cazenave’s research and practice combines material and social based enquiries to consider relationships between photographic materiality and the Anthropocene. She is a doctoral researcher in visual anthropology at Goldsmiths University, where she investigates the toxicity of photographic silver and its entanglements with people and places. Her research traces silver’s movements through temporalities, geologies and climates and considers colonial logics that enable(d) its mobilisation in historical and present day worlds.
Alice is a specialist in Pelargonium printing, a process that uses leaves as photo-sensitive papers. Her work has been published in the British Journal of Photography, New York Times and PLANT: Exploring the Botanical World, Phaidon Press. Alice has exhibited internationally and has been invited to speak at events including The Art of Innovation: Science Museum, London, and Experimental Photo Festival, Barcelona. She was recently artist resident at Öres, Örö island residency programme in Finland.
Edd Carr is an experimental artist from North Yorkshire, UK, working with moving
image and sustainable processes to explore our anxieties around the ecological crisis and the mass extinction of life.
Edd’s moving image work has been exhibited worldwide, including Holland, Australia, Germany, and the UK. He has won multiple awards for his sustainable animation techniques, including most recently the Channel 4 Random Acts Award. Having completed an MA at the Royal College of Art, he currently receives funding from East Street Arts to continue his work on sustainable photography.
TW / Insta @LondonAltPhoto