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From Darkroom to Daylight: New Film Chronicles a Dramatic Shift in the World of Photography

April 04, 2016

Darkroom to Daylight

Photographer and director Harvey Wang will visit Drexel for a screening of his film "From Darkroom to Daylight," followed by a Q&A session. 

Photographer Harvey Wang began taking pictures as a teenager. He was mid-career when the tools of his craft were made nearly obsolete with the transition from film to digital. In a new film, “From Darkroom to Daylight,” Wang documents this dramatic journey, exploring how others navigated the change and how it has affected them and their work. 

In the film, Wang interviews more than 40 important photographers and prominent figures in the field, including Jerome Liebling, George Tice, David Goldblatt, Sally Mann and Eugene Richards, as well as innovators Steven Sasson, who built the first digital camera while at Kodak, and Thomas Knoll, who along with his brother created Photoshop.

Guggenheim Fellowship-winning Drexel photography professor Stuart Rome is bringing the film to Drexel. The screening will be presented by Drexel’s Westphal College of Media Arts & Design and the Philadelphia Photo Arts Center on Wednesday, April 13 at 6 p.m. in the URBN Annex Screening Room (3401 Filbert St).

It will be followed by a Q&A with Wang and a signing of the film’s recently published companion book, which American Photo called “One of the 10 Best New Photography Books of Summer 2015.” The event is free and open to the public.

“The transition from analogue to digital is something that’s been going on for close to 30 years,” said Rome. “But the tipping point came about 8 or 9 years ago — the writing was on the wall — when the industry really moved away from analogue. Since then there has been a lot of back and forth in the industry.”

According to Rome, “This movie describes the arc of that movement and why some people gave film up and why some came back to it. It is a very interesting and entertaining description of that process. Featuring only very well known, international artists, it also offers intriguing insight into their working processes.”

“At Drexel, we are atypical in that we still have wet darkrooms and use film as well as digital capture,” Rome said.

Wang has published six books of photography including “Harvey Wang’s New York” (1990) and “Flophouse: Life on the Bowery” (2000). Wang has had solo exhibitions at the Museum of the City of New York, the New-York Historical Society and the Smithsonian Museum of American History, among others. His films have screened at festivals all over the world. His short film about the photographer Milton Rogovin won the prize for “Best Documentary Short” at the Tribeca Film Festival. He lives and works in New York City.


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