WELCOME TO THE BACKSTAGE
The Darkroom

Nederlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam (NL)

De Donkere Kamer (The Darkroom) is the first permanent display about Dutch photography history in the Netherlands. A space of 250 m2 in the basement of the Nederlands Fotomuseum (Dutch Photo Museum) in Rotterdam has been transformed into a special darkroom. Some fifty development trays are basking in red light. A light wall opposite the entrance that contains a timeline looks like a large strip of negatives. In this modern and interactive darkroom the visitor discovers the development and history of over 185 years of Dutch photography through 22 short stories. From daguerrotypes to Polaroid, from stereo photographs to flickr.com.

Location
Rotterdam (NL)
Client
Nederlands Fotomuseum
Year
2011
Surface
250 m2
Status
Semi-permanent
Role
Concept, Spatial design, Graphic design
Graphic production
Riwi ColloType
Audiovisual experiences and webfilm production
Tungsten Studio
AV technical support
Phanta Vision
Scripts
Anneke van Huisseling
Voiceover
Flip Bool, Carel van Hees, Thom Hoffman, Hans Dorrestijn, Maaike & Anna Martens, Hatta Fokker, Frits Rotgans jr.
The visitor activates the stories.

By putting a white sheet in a development tray, like in an old darkroom, the visitor activates the stories, which are being told by photographers, friends, family members, connoisseurs, and Dutch celebrities such as Hans Dorrestijn and Thom Hoffman. The stories have been made accessible for a wide audience, with secondary school children as main focus. All the photographic material is derived from the museum’s rich collection. The stories are complemented by objects, such as cameras, original and new prints and special photographic accessories.

While the presentation was on display, new ‘gems’ from the museum’s collection were added on a regular basis to ensure the presentation remained up to date.

Awards

Gouden Reiger 2012

Ruimtelijke Media, winner

Design Week Award 2012

Exhibition Design, highly commended

IDEA Award 2012

Environments, finalist

International Design & Communication Awards 2013

Best Exhibition Layout, winner