Festival Private View
Sunday, 6th November
14:30 to 16:30Bond House Gallery – Lower Ground Floor
Bond House, 20-32 Goodwood Road, London SE14 6BL

The Gate Darkroom is pleased to announce the opening of Collective Traces exhibition. The show explores the themes of photography, memory and the archive, and the particular relationship between urban space and memory.
The Exhibition Curator is Sarah Ainsley: Traces  is a feature exhibition of the Urban Photo Village an event as part of UrbanPhotoFest an international urban photography festival exploring contemporary visual practices focusing on urban life. Urban Photo Village will feature 54 participating artists in 10 different venues all located within walking distance of each other in South East London.

3rd November to 8th November:  Midday to 20:00
9th to 11th November:  By appointment
12th & 13th November: 12.00 to 18.00
Bond House Gallery – Lower Ground Floor
Bond House, 20-32 Goodwood Road, London SE14 6BL


We’re really excited to announce that the Gate Darkroom will be involved in this year’s UrbanPhotoFest:

This important international festival is now in its ninth year and will focus on Photography, Memory and the Archive, collaborating with Tate Modern, Goldsmiths, Kingston and Falmouth Universities, Westminster Kingsway College, the Urban Photographers’ Association (UPA), London Independent Photography (LIP), Openvizor, International Urban Photography Summer School (iUPSS), the Old Deptford Police Station, Lewisham Art House, APT Gallery, and Greenwich Gallery.

Oh, and did I forget to mention that the Gate Darkroom will be holding its own exhibition at the Bond House Gallery by some of its members entitled ‘Collective Traces’, as well as two exciting workshops?  More details to follow!

Please come along, get involved, it’ll be really engaging and a fantastic opportunity to see the darkroom and find out more.

We are hugely looking forward to the Deptford X Festival 2015 which will be kicking off at the end of this month on Friday 25 September and continues to Sunday 4 October (  Deptford X exists to promote the best contemporary visual art and celebrate that art with the widest possible audience.  It is an arts event born of Deptford’s creative community and based on a belief in the limitless potential of the area. Deptford X is London’s longest running contemporary visual arts festival and has been experienced by over one million people since inception in 1998.  The festival brings together some of the greatest artists from around the globe to Deptford, south-east London and mixes them with some of the most creative talent living in the area.

During the Festival, we will be hosting a couple of workshops:

Pinhole camera workshop: Saturday 26th September 10am-5pm
Photogram workshop: Saturday 3rd October 11am-6pm

These workshops will explore traditional darkroom processes using photographic paper. In the first workshop, participants will have an opportunity to make their own pinhole camera and use it to create images which are developed in the darkroom. In the second workshop, participants will be encouraged to use a combination of photographic paper and materials in creative ways to produce a series of photograms.

The cost is £20 per person for a workshop place. All materials are provided. No previous experience is required. Places are limited so early booking is certainly advised. If you are interested please email us at

If you’re looking for an opportunity just to meet some of us and have an exploration of the darkroom, then please come along on Friday 2 October from 6-9pm.  We are hosting an open studio at Bond House, along with other artists in the building with the support of ASC Studios (  Our neighbours Zeitgeist Arts Project (ZAP) will be hosting a late night viewing of their Open Exhibition (, so plenty of reasons to come along!

Undertaking a photographic project can help us define and clarify what we are trying to communicate through our photography.  If we have an idea, we can research it, brainstorm around the issues, understand the contexts, get to know the history, and define the questions and problems.  And then we can do visual research, and begin to consider what a finished piece of work may look like, perhaps using a workbook both to record the evolution of the project and as a useful reference tool for reflection and key decision-making.

The trick is to know what our ideas are to begin with.  Sometimes I find I have no inspiration, no fresh thoughts, just a blank greyness flooding the mind.  That can feel frustrating and this time of year doesn’t seem to help.  So what can we do to trigger our creativity?  Here’s just five random thoughts:

  1. It probably helps to be in touch with who we are and how we’re feeling.  Mindfulness meditation has its benefits, and I think this video by Professor Mark Williams is useful:
  2. Sometimes not worrying about our lack of ideas & plans, and just following our instincts and spontaneity with the camera can throw up all sorts of new possibilities.  Just getting out there and doing some shooting can be like a breath of fresh air.  The results may be a pointer of what we’re really interested in, what floats our boat.
  3. It’s easy to overlook the importance of reflecting on past work.  New lines of thought may come as we do this.  As a challenge, how about brainstorming previous images to see how many new projects we can create with the material we already have?  This may seem like working backwards, but it’s worth a go and can kick-start fresh ideas.
  4. Having disciplines and deadlines help focus the mind.  Doing short discrete projects with a clear start and finish and with a limited timeframe can help, especially if we feel we’re getting bogged down. We could make a diary note of competition deadlines and try to submit work.  We could make a point of getting to those exhibitions that really interest us to listen to what is speaking to us there.
  5. Talking to others, finding support and receiving feedback & encouragement is also important.  I find being part of a monthly critical assessment with others is useful, for instance with LIP (  At the Gate we aim to build a supportive environment and we’re fortunate to have artist development opportunities like ZAP in our building (

JANUARY SALE:  We are currently having a sale of three months’ membership of the Gate Darkroom for only £165.  This represents a saving of £15 for 2014 membership rates, which are now set at £60 per month.  The sale finishes on 2 February.  Casual use is charged at £25 per day (8 hours) so long as a member is present. 

Membership of the Gate provides full access to all darkroom facilities day and night on a 24-hour basis.  All chemicals are included, along with equipment for film development and paper printing in black & white.  Negatives sizes from 35mm to 5×4 inches can be developed and printed.  There is also a dry mount press for up to 20×24 inch paper. 

The Gate is a not-for-profit community interest organisation, run on a voluntary basis, which aims to have a supportive and welcoming environment for all, whatever their knowledge or experience.  It shares the space with an artistic community including Zeitgeist Arts Projects, which supports new and ambitious artists with practical ways to sustain their practice (  

While there has had to be a rise in the standard rates for 2014 due to core cost increases, the Gate remains a fantastic – and probably unrivalled! – deal in London.

The Gate has been established with the help of Artists’ Studio Company (, a charity that supports visual and performing artists.

Please do not hesitate to contact us for further information:  Lee Murphy on 07714 699 608 or David Whiting on 07854 948 527 or by email at


You may be wondering what’s been going on here at the Gate.  Over the past few months, we’ve been busy developing community engagement and outreach activities pioneered by one of our members, Tim Mitchell, a professional photographer (  It’s been fantastic working with Tim who’s led a number of inspirational darkroom workshops for the Gate in collaboration with the National Maritime Museum and the Ansell Adams exhibition (   Over this Spring we’ve also led community workshops involving a great range of people of all ages.  While it’s early days, we’re keen to develop our community engagement ideas, and build on the energy and interest they’ve been generating.  Watch this space!

In the meantime, there’s loads of news to catch up on, and over the next few weeks we’ll be updating this blog to let you in on what we’ve been up to in a bit more detail, how some of our projects are going, what new equipment we’ve got, and how we see the next few months panning out.  Our open access scheme is becoming more popular and we’ve been growing our membership too.   Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you want to find out more about the darkroom.  If you’re interested in black and white darkroom printing, and want to develop your work in a supportive environment, please do get in touch.  We are happy to offer a free day trial.  You will be very welcome!