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Another kind of darkroom

The Weinmeisterhaus is ensuring that analogue photography doesn't become a casualty of the digital age, training up Berlin's under-25s in their dirt-cheap darkroom.

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Photo by Marta Domínguez

Anyone can fake a retro shot these days, but Instagram filters are no substitute for paper, chemicals and time.

The Weinmeisterhaus, a Jugendhaus dedicated to promoting the fine arts among Berlin’s youth for over a century, is set on ensuring that black and white analogue photography does not become a casualty of the digital era.

In a picturesque building from the 1860s, two flights of stairs will take you to the photography department. For both experienced and newbie photographers, the first order of business is a simple sign-up and a walkthrough of the darkroom facilities. The lab is serviceable and the process easy to master and once the ground rules have been established, it’s free rein from there on out. Beginners have the option of joining a course or coming in when supervisors are present for the off-chance question or two.

With analogue photography being the rather pricey venture that it is, a €1 Chemiespende (lab donation) isn’t half bad. The catch? Well, it’s a Jugendhaus and therefore only open to youth. But their definition extends all the way to age 25, so millennial layabouts looking to develop artistic snapshots of their breakfasts are in luck. An added tip: the well-stocked Foto Impex a couple of blocks away carries everything from film to photography paper for fairly reasonable prices.