Episode 20: Lauren Masterson & Aaron Wesseling: The Portland Darkroom

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When an established community of analog film photographers in Portland Oregon abruptly lost their gathering space to economic forces beyond their control, they did the only thing they could to stay together—they pooled their resources in a true grassroots effort to salvage as much of the darkroom equipment as possible during the liquidation and made plans for a new space of their own. From the chaos came a new community and The Portland Darkroom was born. Lauren Masterson and Aaron Wessling are two of the founders of a remarkable new photo collective that is now creating a template for other similarly motivated film enthusiasts the world over.

They’ve created a unique, analog photography facility similar to ones now usually relegated to community college campuses—but based instead on a membership model with a once-a-week open darkroom night for the general public. We discuss the difficulties of running a facility on nothing but elbow grease and passion, but also the ways film photography brings people together—in real-time and across generations.

The Portland Darkroom