Alumni Take Dark Room on the Road

By Ryan Whitchurch, Student Assistant

Pictured here is The Photo Palace Bus that has two Volkswagon Station Wagons mounted on the top.

Pictured here, the bus will have a photo studio equipped with a darkroom, presentation station, a light studio, and two Volkswagen station wagons on top that will serve as sleeping quarters.

Two San Jose State University alumni have set out to remind Americans about the time-honored traditions and artistic beauty of darkroom photography.

Anton Orlov, ’06 BFA, and Ryan Kalem, ’11 BFA, are raising funds to build The Photo Palace, a mobile art studio housed within a vintage 35-foot, 1978 Gillig school bus that the two will use to travel across the United States teaching the art of analog and darkroom photography.

The bus will have a fully functioning photo studio equipped with a two-station darkroom, a presentation and workshop station, a light studio, and two Volkswagen station wagons welded to the top that will serve as sleeping quarters.

“When digital photography exploded, many old tenets of analog photography were forgotten, darkrooms soon seemed all but obsolete,” Orlov wrote on their Kickstarter fundraising page. “Traditional photographic printing methods allow the photographer a greater degree of interaction with their work.”

Visiting all 48 continental states, the two will teach photographic education, as well as create and present their works along the way. With plans to roll out this summer, The Photo Palace will provide lectures and demonstrations; offer workshops on gelatin silver printing and alternative photo processes; and hold impromptu and planned photographic showings. The Photo Palace will also be creating a  documentary portrait series on the road.

Check in with Orlov and Kalem as they travel across the continental United States inspiring thousands of Americans, coast-to-coast, as they share their talents and passions with all those they encounter. You can follow the Orlov and Kalem on the The Photo Palace blog or make a donation to lend your support as they work toward transforming their dream into reality.