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Building a Pop Up Darkroom - Part 3; Lightfast

Updated: Jun 16, 2022

I have got to the final slog of tent modification and this time I am using the massive basement space at 1520 Studios in Cheetham Hill, Manchester.

I had received my camera tape and got started adhering them to the seems but found that overnight the adhesion had failed and much of it had fallen to the floor. However, the paint I had used on the other side of the tent had held up pretty nicely so I got to work using that after all. We will see how it goes in the long run!

Time for the windows.

The windows already have a velcro seal on one side, so I decided to give velcro on each side a go. I measured, cut it to size and used contact adhesive to secure it to the tent.

With a little bit of fiddling it worked very well and it is easy to open and close to air out the tent between prints.

After the success of the windows, I turned my attention to the zips. The zips present the most serious light leaks but also will be the most used part of the tent. The solution presented in the video I have been following here was simple enough, cut out skirts using light proof fabric and glue them on the inside, a bit like how the zips are covered on jeans.

Now that all the light leaks are dealt with, it's time to deal with the company logo. This company is based in Wisconsin in the US and makes equipment for ice fishing. They are the only company in the word that make such a lightfast, roomy and quick to put up tent. Their name is Eskimo, and it goes without saying that this problematic name needs to be addressed and dealt with.

"Although the name "Eskimo" was commonly used in Alaska to refer to Inuit and Yupik people of the world, this usage is now considered unacceptable by many or even most Alaska Natives, largely since it is a colonial name imposed by non-Indigenous people. Alaska Natives increasingly prefer to be known by the names they use in their own languages, such as Inupiaq or Yupik. "Inuit" is now the current term in Alaska and across the Arctic, and "Eskimo" is fading from use. The Inuit Circumpolar Council prefers the term "Inuit" but some other organizations use "Eskimo". "

- Alaska Native Language Center

I enlisted the help of my good friend and talented artist Bambi Maxwell to cover the logo with spray paint, we chose a nice maroon colour. It covers the logo well enough that you can't read it across a room but sadly it is still raised on the vinyl lettering. In time, I plan to print my own vinyl logo to put over the top, but this is a good solution for now. At least I can put it up for the public now.

Now the tent modding part is over (hopefully), I am turning to the fun bit!

I have got some workshops booked for the end of June/ start of May so the next part of the plan is testing out some prints in there. I have gathered my materials and will be getting ready over the next few weeks.

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