News & Events

The Hawaii Darkroom – A Community Darkroom Launches on Kickstarter

February 19, 2019

Mike Caputo, a fireman from Hawaii has just launched a Kickstarter campaign to build a community darkroom in Hawaii. Hawaii is about as far away from where I live as is possible – if I ever get there it’ll be a “trip of a lifetime” type visit. Despite this, I have just backed the project and bagged myself a day pass and one of Mike’s prints. To me, this Kickstarter campaign feels like one worth backing – let me tell you why…

I’ve got to know a few people in various places around the world through this website. I consider myself quite lucky to have made friends with so many people from so many walks of life. Mike, in his infinite eccentricity, is one of those people!

Beyond that friendship though, the main reason I’m backing this Kickstarter is Mike’s enthusiasm to share his skills with other people. This guy is a talented man – his photography and work in the darkroom is effortless. He sells a lot of prints through his Instagram where he shows often hilarious video stories of him making prints in his home darkroom. They are worth a watch for the laughs, but the prints he makes are fantastic – I know, I have a couple of them myself.

Mike’s desire to build a community darkroom comes from the love of what he does and a wish to share those effortless skills with other photographers. And to do that, he decided a community darkroom was the way forward.

Mike has already invested a large chunk of cash buying in loads of new gear. He’s signed the lease on the space and has a man who used to design darkrooms working with him on the plumbing and ventilation. He’s set up the Kickstarter to raise the last remaining chunk of funds needed for supplies.

Once opened he is expecting to run training sessions to suit the level of experience his members have, from beginners, those just looking for a bit of a refresher course, to people wanting to learn more advanced skills such as toning.

Of course, membership is likely best suited to those who live on the Hawaiian islands, or who perhaps those who have a penchant for long distance air travel. But this doesn’t mean the rest of us can’t dream… For the price of one of Mike’s wonderful prints – in fact half the price, since he’s selling them for half what he usually does on Instagram – you can get yourself a print and a day pass. That’s what I’ve done… I’ve bought into the dream of one day visiting. And why wouldn’t I? Just look at the place…

Here’s a little promo video he made:

That aside, the main point here is that Mike is doing something positive for the analogue photography community and is doing it with really positive intentions. And for that, I really believe he deserves support from as many of us in the wider community as possible!

Back the campaign here!

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  • Reply
    February 19, 2019 at 6:24 pm

    I’m closer than you Hamish, and it’s still a six hour flight for me!! Thanks for highlighting this really deserving endeavor.

    • Reply
      Mike Caputo
      February 22, 2019 at 7:56 am

      Thank you, Lori! Six hours isn’t bad all. I look forward to showing you the studio 🙂

  • Reply
    David Hill
    February 19, 2019 at 6:52 pm

    Good man. Public darkrooms are marvelous.

    There are people who run, say, programming workshops, in places like Tahiti, for people who want to combine an exotic vacation with professional learning (which means the whole bloody trip is a tax writeoff, eh whot?) Or you can afford to just go somewhere exotic and learn something too. Mike Caputo could easily format Hawaii Darkroom packages …

    • Reply
      Mike Caputo
      February 22, 2019 at 7:53 am

      Thank you, David. The darkroom is coming along very well – the enlarges and tables were carried in today, and we already have photographers asking to come from the mainland to do traveling workshops for groups. How exciting!

  • Reply
    Khürt Louis Williams
    February 20, 2019 at 1:44 am

    Does the day pass expire? If 10 years from now I am able to visit Hawaii, will I be able to use the day pass?

    • Reply
      Hamish Gill
      February 20, 2019 at 8:41 pm

      Nope, according to the kickstarter it doesn’t expire – you can always double check with Mike by asking on the campaign page too

      • Reply
        Mike Caputo
        February 22, 2019 at 8:07 am

        That’s correct, Hamish! There’s a special drop in pass being made for you for all the help you’ve given me. I think you’ll enjoy it.

    • Reply
      Mike Caputo
      February 22, 2019 at 7:48 am

      Hello Khurt, valid until used! That would would be epic to see a 10 year old day pass come in. You’d get a hearty slap on the back and a cold beer too. I better laminate that sucker for you.

  • Reply
    Dave Walker
    February 21, 2019 at 12:27 pm

    I’ve supported them :o) Definitely a worthy project. Like you, I’ll probably never make it to Hawaii, but that’s not the point!

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