NOIR Darkroom is a prospective new analogue photography creative hub to open October 2016
NOIR Darkroom will consist of a 10 person black and white darkroom available for individual hire or community/school group sessions, frequent creative workshops in photographic practice, a micro store and a contemporary art gallery supporting emerging artists from all backgrounds.
Designed not just to cater for the needs of established photographers but to amateurs and newcomers, NOIR Darkroom’s focus is on art, community, creative access and education.
NOIR Darkroom is not intended to compete with either existing darkroom service in Melbourne, but to add to the creative landscape in Victoria; providing affordable access to artistic services and a space for school and community groups to learn the art, and keep analogue photography alive.
NOIR Darkroom is intending to set up base in the Footscray area but will be finitely decided by availability and price of appropriate shopfront.
NOIR Darkroom is open to suburbs including Yarraville, Spottswood, Seddon, Newport, Northcote, Thornbury, Coburg and Brunswick.
We will keep supporters updated at every step of the way and also listen to where supporters would like to see us set up shop.
NOIR Darkroom's Jessica Schwientek has an incredible passion for art and chemistry based photography and wants to establish a place that provides community access to support, learn, and participate in the creative arts.
Art is essential to community. It is how we record our histories and tell stories. Often it is a select few artists that get to tell these stories. So, NOIR Darkroom wants expand the platform and facilitate emerging artists to breakthrough into the arts industry and have their own stories heard. Whilst understanding that emerging does not solely mean youth arts.
We also want to provide an extensive education program teaching newcomers, amateurs and interested persons how to do a range of creative arts practices through workshops that are not limited to photographic process.
There is also a very special moment when a person first see's an image appear in a developing tray, a certain magic and wonderment that we want to share with as many people as possible. Whilst providing a place for them to experience it over and over again.
The $5,000 we are asking for is about a third of what we have budgeted for in our financial plan. We plan on using this $5,000 to present to a bank in order to secure a further $10,000 loan, giving us $15,000 to set up this business.
This is a very tight budget but we are planning to (and have begun) repurposing discarded materials to build furniture and fit out the shopfront. We have been collecting darkroom enlargers and equiptment for a few years now and other items for the business but there is still plenty more to go.
Donations of goods will also help this project be realized. Items of use would be:
- analogue cameras and accessories
- darkroom equipment and accessories
- furniture (tables, desks, workbenches, seating, etc)
- fridges and other appliances
- a projector
- building supplies and tools
- office supplies, (stationery, office chair, filing cabinet, cash box, etc)
If you have any of these items (or other items you think we may appreciate) that are no longer of use to you and you want taken off your hands, or to sell for a small fee, they will really help to propel this project.
E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with descriptions and condition of items so we can let you know if they will be of use to us.
Jessica is also running workshops around Geelong and Melbourne over the next two months with all profits contributing to the start up fund. For more details click here.
Experimental photographer Jessica Schwientek (Jessika K) is the backbone of this project. She has a BA in Media and Communications, majoring in Photography (analogue) from Deakin University and is currently finishing off her Honours year in 'Historical and Chemistry Bases Photographic Processes'. She has exhibited photographic work all around Geelong and Melbourne and acted as the Communications Director for 2015's FIGMENT arts festival.
Prior to her university studies, Jessica worked for many years as a chef all aorund Melbourne and left her career for creative ventures.
Jessica has also completed the NEIS small business course through RMIT and compiled a comprehensive business and financial plan for NOIR Darkroom.
NOIR Darkroom will open up employment in the arts for Jessica whilst supporting local art; and if the business pans out as to the business plan, it will open up employment opportunties to others in its second year of operation.
How The Funds Will Be Used
If this campaign is successful the $5,000 will be used to present to the bank and secure a further $10,000 loan, equalling a total of $15,000 for start up. If this campaign earns over $5,000, every dollar will be added to the $15,000 and allow for a smoother start up and better resources in the facility.
Some specific things the money will go towards:
- Bond and 3 months rent of a shopfront
- Fitout, including lighting, plumbing and building (depending on premises)
- Required permits and licenses for fitout
- Required permits and licenses for running the business (depending on location)
- Any darkroom equiptment and tools not already owned
- Paint and building supplies, screws, nails, varnish, wood, etc.
- Marketing, business cards, flyers, etc.
$15,000 is a very small budget for all of these things, so Jessica has already been sourcing equiptment, tools, decor and hand building furniture out of recycled wood. The idea is to repurpose as many resources as possible and do as much work in setting up personally before hiring professionals.
If you require any more information about this project and budget, feel free to e-mail us at email@example.com.
Challenges for this project are mainly socio economic. Although she has worked hard through much of her life, the second Jessica quit her career to study arts she became a statistic living off government benefits and casual wages. This detail puts many obstacles in our path as well as providing some great opportunities.
Being on centrelink allowed Jess to partake in the NEIS program and learn about all aspects of running a business. NEIS used to give grant and loan opportunities to participants to help start up their small business but due to funding cuts no longer do and we need to find our own ways of funding. By not owning a car, house or any high valued collateral getting a bank loan is difficult and more expensive in the long run. 50% of of the loan amount needs to be provided (our $5,000 goal) and higher interest rates are involed.
This is why we are working with a small budget to help make it a more viable venture and loan repayments manageable.
These same factors may present challenges in securing a lease, which is why we are budgeting for a few months rent up front, and to also allow time for the business to generate sufficient income to cover costs.