Margot Murphy '23, Associate Web Editor

John F Martin

Hidden in the second floor of the IA building, in a room within a room, lies a place even the bell cannot penetrate. Chemical smell wafts through the air. An orange glow washes away color, protecting the soaking pictures as rock music emanates from a nearby phone. It’s dim, not just because it’s a darkroom, but because it’s sealed off from all the windows and lighting. Quiet, a photographer’s haven for experimentation.

My haven.

The cool feel of the camera, the challenging process of removing film, mixing chemicals and manipulating the light to create an image is an in-depth and frustrating process: the slightest miscalculation can easily ruin a photo. But this complicated process is just like my time at South.

My Freshman year was delayed by COVID and I had to somehow make friends through a video screen. My Junior year I began to recognize people by their eyes and body language rather than their smiles. It was tough; I had to tread my way through these years in order to stay afloat.

But just like when a photo finishes drying in the darkroom, I am satisfied with my time here. The friends I’ve made, things I’ve experienced, memories made with family, essays I’ve written have all developed me into the person I am today, like a slowly emerging picture.

I don’t know where I’d be without these moments. Maybe my passion for photography and people would have never unfolded. But, thankfully, no hypothetical is needed.

If I could, I wouldn’t mind getting the chance to experience pressing down on the shutter for the first time, all over again.