I lost ALL of my darkroom gear in my move

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Last year I moved to Kentucky and took my darkroom setup down there. I got set up and started printing again. In January, I abandoned the Kentucky project and moved back to the Tacoma area. All of our household goods were "moved" back to WA. Some of the boxes didn't make it here. Those boxes included every piece of darkroom equipment, chemistry, paper, and bulk film. It's all gone. Fortunately, I have most of my cameras but did lose a few. Oh, it appears that I've lost 35 years worth of negatives too. I am upset.

Do I start over from scratch or just move on?
 

btaylor

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That’s a very sad story. I guess how you proceed depends on how you feel about darkroom work. I like it, if such a thing happened to me I think I would try to pick up someone’s complete darkroom on Craigslist or other local classified and go from there. But you’ll never have those negatives again, and that’s unfortunate- shoot a lot more to try to make up for it? Good luck and sorry for your loss.
 
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I'm scrubbing 3 terrabytes of RAW photos from the last decade later on this evening. Try to find better human beings to handle your physical affects.
 

Sirius Glass

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That is a tough blow. I wish you a speedy and complete darkroom recovery.
 

mshchem

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I would be devastated. Best thing for me would be buy a brick of Kentmere, a Paterson tank and a bottle of Rodinal. Get back in but go slow.

Jeez.
 

Daniela

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So sorry this has happened to you. I'd be so sad about the negatives...and still hopeful that they may reappear. Maybe you can post about them on social media, on local groups, etc. in case someone finds them. I know that if I found a stash of negatives, I'd rescue them and keep them safe until returning them.

As for the future, see how you feel and go from there. It might be hard to make a decision now that you're grappling with such a loss...the good news is that you don't need to make it in a rush. To start, I'd ask if you can imagine a happy life without shooting and a darkroom.
 
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John Wiegerink

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Starting over is much easier if you are a 35mm shooter and a little harder, plus more expensive, if you are into larger formats. Used 35mm size enlargers are very cheap buying used, but once you jump up in size, things get a little harder to find used. At least in the area I'm from. A good used 35mm/6x6 enlarger, 6 element enlarging lens, developing tank off eBay/Craigs list or Facebook MarketPlace and you're good to go on that end. One note: It seems folks on Facebooks Market Place seem to think photo enlargers in my area are highly collectible and are pricing them for way, way more than they are worth. Still, you can contact them and offer a more reasonable price closer to what the completed/sold enlargers go for on eBay. For cheap, you could go to WallyMart and buy some plastic storage boxes for developing trays or get the real thing from someone like Freestyle. Buy your film, paper, and chemicals and you're set to go.
 

BrianShaw

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Sorry to read about your plight. Seems like something always goes missing when moving from home to home. Unfortunately it is often possessions that are really meaningful. But it does give an inflection point where we can consider how important those things really were to us. Your logic and emotions will guide you in your next steps. Good luck.
 

Mal Paso

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I lost my darkroom, studio and most of my negatives to a wildfire started by tourists in 2016. I am still a little bent but have started to curb my photo purchases. The "new" Beseler 45 has the metal stand I always wanted. I have every large format lens I really wanted and just picked up a Peak grain focuser I was too cheap to buy when my eyes were younger.
Look for bargains and don't be in too much of a hurry. I mostly used ebay but watch the market for a while. Some sellers have high prices and are willing to sit on merchandise for years, others price to sell now. Once you have know the market be ready to move when you see a great price. Several times I've logged in to find an item for sale that would have been gone in hours if I hadn't grabbed it. The 100% sellers are usually awesome and I try not to go below 99.6% as the lower ratings are slanted toward the seller.
Good Luck!
 

pentaxuser

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Real bad luck is a phrase that hardly describes this My sympathies, for what comfort they can possibly provide in such circumstances

pentaxuser
 

Bill Burk

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You’re free to start doing alternative processes, like carbon printing.

Your old negatives wouldn’t have been any good for it, because you need much higher contrast negatives. They would have held you back.
 

Oldwino

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Oh man that really sucks. My sympathies! I’ve lost things during moves that still bother me to this day.
I would be tempted to look at this as if the Universe is trying to tell you something.
 

Rolleiflexible

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Last year I moved to Kentucky and took my darkroom setup down there. I got set up and started printing again. In January, I abandoned the Kentucky project and moved back to the Tacoma area. All of our household goods were "moved" back to WA. Some of the boxes didn't make it here. Those boxes included every piece of darkroom equipment, chemistry, paper, and bulk film. It's all gone. Fortunately, I have most of my cameras but did lose a few. Oh, it appears that I've lost 35 years worth of negatives too. I am upset.

Do I start over from scratch or just move on?

If it were me, I would try hard to locate the negatives. Did you use a commercial service? Perhaps you can ask them to contact the other customers who received boxes from that truck, and see if they were misdelivered to another household?

If you kept scans of the negatives, you can always make digital negatives from the scans. That's not much help in a silver gelatin darkroom, but it will enable you to print them using alt processes. If the scans are lacking, you can even run them through a program like Topaz AI and make alt prints from the output TIFFs.
 

titrisol

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That sucks! Especially the negatives
Hardware is not too bad, I've started over twice with the help of craiglist/marktplaats and is not too expensive

But the negs... man!!! so sorry
 

KerrKid

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It sounds like your things were LTL and were moved with at least one other persons things. That person would have your boxes since I highly doubt your boxes were stolen. Your moving company would have the addresses.

Very sorry for your loss!
 

Andrew O'Neill

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Really sorry to hear this. Back in 2005, someone broke into my house, including the darkroom, and stole all my darkroom equipment and every single piece of camera gear, including all my large format. They even took my bloody densitometre! But the bastards didn't take my negatives, or a my photo vest, which contained my precious spot metre (which I still have and use). The gear can be replaced, which I did and it took a year (thanks to an excellent insurance broker). But negatives? That would have hurt me more. So my advice would be to pick up some gear, and get back to work!
 

MattKing

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If you replace what you can of what is lost, what are the chances everything will then turn up!?
 
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Last year I moved to Kentucky and took my darkroom setup down there. I got set up and started printing again. In January, I abandoned the Kentucky project and moved back to the Tacoma area. All of our household goods were "moved" back to WA. Some of the boxes didn't make it here. Those boxes included every piece of darkroom equipment, chemistry, paper, and bulk film. It's all gone. Fortunately, I have most of my cameras but did lose a few. Oh, it appears that I've lost 35 years worth of negatives too. I am upset.

Do I start over from scratch or just move on?

Here is what I would do if I were you. I would use the web to post any information or documentation you have that might help people identify the goods. Here, other popular photo forums, on Reddit, on the local Craigslist, etc. Also, notify some of the local thrift shops.

You may find bits and pieces here and there even if it's months from now. I would not give up all hope.

Also, there's a chance the company may locate them (eventually). I would be polite and insistent so they know it's important to you. People respond well to that.

Good luck.
 

images39

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Yikes, that's a terrible situation. I'm sorry to hear that you're dealing with that. I do wonder if you have any insurance options, at least to receive some compensation for the equipment.

If the equipment is not returned, take heart that at least that aspect of your loss if replaceable. You can still find darkroom gear for sale on sites like Craigslist, particularly in the larger cities. Keep an eye on the Seattle and Portland listing, you might be surprised at what's available over time. I even went so for as to have an LPL 4500 enlarger shipped to Reno from Denver, which was a bit nuts. Don't give up darkroom work, you can replace it all and start again!

Dale
 
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