press release

This autumn’s main exhibition at the Finnish Museum of Photography, Pimiö – Darkroom, lets the viewers to immerse themselves in the fascinating reality of the darkroom – experientially, through all their senses. The exhibition looks both at the history of photography and the current buzz around darkrooms and traditional techniques. Works by more than 60 photographers, spanning from the 19th century to 2015, demonstrate the versatility of the techniques and the changing ideals of photographic printing.

The exhibition highlights materials, craft, different techniques, and the irreplaceability of darkrooms for various uses even today. At the same time, it demonstrates how the miracle of the photograph is produced in darkrooms and how photographic artists have created their own printing styles.

In the age of digitalism and automation, the magic of the darkroom is still very much alive, as many young photographers have returned to the darkroom and the original photography techniques.

"Automation and digitalism are replacing materiality, but at the same time digitalism has lost its novelty appeal. This means that many young art photographers have returned to the darkroom, doing things by hand, and using a process in which the end result is not immediately visible, but requires making a number of choices", says the chief curator of the exhibition, Anna-Kaisa Rastenberger.

In addition to prints by darkroom wizards such as Pentti Sammallahti, Ulla Jokisalo, Matti Saanio and Martti Jämsä, works will be shown by young photographers, including tintype portraits of skateboarders by Jaakko Markkanen, tender cyanotypes originally shot with a smartphone by Ida Taavitsainen and bright chromogenic color prints by Tuukka Kaila. The exhibition includes photographs from the collections of the Finnish Museum of Photography by over 60 artists.

The darkroom space, films, stories, darkroom equipment and prints from the 19th century to 2015 invite viewers to look, touch, and listen. In the Darkroom exhibition, artists and enthusiasts lead viewers on a journey to working in the darkroom. Printing photographs is manual work in which timing is of the essence: many examples, stories and reminiscences by photographers show how to succeed and how to fail.

"The darkroom is nostalgia, the present day and the future. With this exhibition, we would like to challenge viewers to think about the role of manual work in today's digital world”, says Anna-Kaisa Rastenberger.