Torn photographs, chemical stained walls, the smell of developer.
To step inside John Stadnicki’s darkroom was for many to enter a sacred space of creative potential. Captivating, inspiring and often incendiary, John was the gatekeeper to so many when it came to seeing the world anew. Of how photography could be used not only to remember the past but also to determine a future. How we all could take this black box and use it as agency to be present in the world, to look at the beauty and the vulgarity, to bare witness and to try to make sense of our passage through time. John knew this better than any. A man that embodied so much of what photography is about: light and shadow, curiosity and boldness, pain and beauty. A teacher of vision, John is succeeded by hundreds if not thousands of artists who owe their life’s passion to him.
During my time studying under John my final major project consisted of documenting my grandfathers workshop. A nostalgic space where for as long as I can remember I would eagerly explore. This project in turn led to long conversations with John about the traces we leave as humans. No matter how mundane or ephemeral these moments they were still moments in time forever altered and forever charged. The now posthumously named Stadnicki Darkroom is a physical manifestation of Johns life lived in both photography and teaching. The traces he left within this space are for many young artists and photographers the signs of that most pivotal moment in their creative lives. With discussions of human traces still with me to this day I saw no other way of showing my gratitude to my former tutor, colleague and friend than to preserve what little I could of a space unlike any other.
All photographs displayed here were developed in the Stadnicki darkroom and were photographed using one of many 35mm film cameras he generously gifted me over the years.