Holter Museum remembers the days of print photography

HELENA – The Holter Museum of Art is working to raise interest around a medium that time has passed by.

On Thursday, local photographer Kurt Keller gave a presentation and demonstration of dark room photography at the museum. Keller is passionate about spreading his love for film in an era when kids and adults take most of their photos on smartphones.

According to Keller, film is a more “personal and slower process.” Keller learned photography from his grandfather and has been using the medium for decades now.

“I enjoyed watching him work in the dark room and [I] just really got interested in it,” Keller said.

Those in attendance Thursday watched Keller work his magic, exposing negatives of his own photographs and creating the black and white prints.

Once the lights were out, Keller puts the photos in the different solutions and gradually an imagine forms.

“Watching the dark room process is just amazing. I still get chills sometimes when a print comes up and it looks really nice. You have that moment of surprise just watching the image form before your eyes,” Keller said.

Holter Museum Curator of Education Sondra Hines said she wanted to show children how photography used to work in the days before digital.

“What I realized was the actual photo-processing in the dark room is becoming a lost art,” Keller said. “Even the idea that Photoshop is basically old time dark room procedures done digitally, we thought it’d be fun to put together some programs where you could actually see what’s happening in the dark room.”

Keller said not as many people do photography because it can be a lot of work and digital photography is cheaper. Nonetheless, Keller said he’s happy to see people are still interested.

“It’s really exciting to know that people still enjoy using film,” Keller said.