top of page

Get to know the Beach Creative studio residents : Emily Parris / The Darkroom at Beach Creative

Photograph by Peter Reynolds Photography

One of our very first studio residents, Emily Parris, was recently interview by Lomography Magazine to talk about The Darkroom at Beach Creative, why she loves to shoot on film and the rise in popularity of analogue photography.

Emily is an artist, arts educator and founder of The Darkroom at Beach Creative.

Since establishing her photographic darkroom in 2015, she now tutors both on and off site, touring workshops around schools and community centres offering a wide range of 1:1 and group sessions. These sessions range from how to use different format analogue cameras and developing and printing processes, to alternative photographic processes such as phytograms, anthotypes, cyanotypes and chemigrams.

A phytogram, created using the internal chemistry in plants © Emily Parris

‘Processing labs and darkrooms have been popping up all over the UK in the last few years as more people are becoming curious to explore analogue photography in a more hands-on way. Some of these labs are even turning up far away from big cities, forming much-needed creative spaces for those communities. One example of this is The Darkroom at Beach Creative, based in Herne Bay, a small coastal town in the UK, which offers workshops and darkroom hire.’

Lomography magazine, published 26 April 2023

Recently Emily took part in an artist residency in Canterbury city centre, creating a temporary darkroom at the residency location to build a pinhole camera project.

LM: What do you enjoy about this type of photography?

EP: I enjoy the slowness of analogue photography. I am a kinesthetic learner, something I've only discovered recently. Learning by doing is really the only way I can embed information. I have found using film and light sensitive mediums makes me a more considered photographer and more willing to explore the boundaries.’

'The Bird' - a 5x3 inch hand print, featured in the 10 year anniversary exhibition at The Turner Contemporary

© Emily Parris

People want hands on experiences..I have noticed a lot of like minded people coming together

LM: Have you seen this industry change much over the years?

EP: I have seen a significant change in popularity. I think people really want hands on experiences, particularly since the pandemic. I have also noticed a growing community of like minded people coming together through platforms such as Instagram. When I first started building my darkroom, I found there was a lot of gatekeeping. Thankfully that has changed over time and people seem less competitive and more community minded.

The Darkroom at Beach Creative © Emily Parris

LM: Where do you see film photography and darkroom use moving in the future?

EP: I think there will be a resurgence of film photographers. From some of the tutor work I do a local colleges, I can see young people between the ages of 15-20 really picking it up as a hobby and art medium during their studies. I have also noticed a lot more people gaining interest in alternative processes, such as anthotype printing which uses plant matter as a photographic medium.

From 'Wild Swim Project' , Ilford HP5 © Emily Parris

You can read the full Lomography Magazine interview here

For more information on workshops and hiring the Darkroom at Beach Creative

Follow on instagram @thedarkroombc


29 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page