disabled photographer

Discussion in 'The Darkroom' started by ericatakespics, Feb 10, 2006.

  1. ericatakespics

    ericatakespics TPF Noob!

    Feb 10, 2006
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    I need to find a way to teach an amputee how to work in a darkroom. He lost his right arm in Iraq and now has a prosthetic hook in its place. The hook is actaully two hooks that can open and close, much like opening and closing two fingers. He took a photography course several years ago, but wants a refresher course. He doesn't want to rely on someone every time he comes here to do things like load film. If anyone has any suggestions on how I can help him or if you know of a an amputee who is currently doing darkroom work that I can talk to, I would greatly appreciate it.

  2. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental We're supposed to post photos?

    Nov 8, 2004
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    Where am I now?

    Working in a darkroom with a disability can be OK or virtually impossible depending upon the disability.
    With only one hand loading film onto a spiral is going to be the hardest part. The whole system is designed for two hands and I have yet to come across a system designed for one handed use. Like so many disability areas, there's no profit in it so manufacturers tend not to bother.
    It's not impossible, but it will take some ingenuity and a bit of kitchen table engineering.
    The first thing is to acquire the skill of not rewinding the film all the way back into the can when it is finished. If you can leave a bit of the leader sticking out then you can get the film started onto the spiral with the lights on - which will make that part of the operation easier.
    You will then need some kind of jig to hold the spiral and the film can in the same position allowing one half of the spiral to be turned one-handed to load the film in the dark.
    With a little thought a simple piece of kit could be made (a bit like a bulk film loader in reverse).
    Then you would need to have some method of holding the tank still to be able to put the lid on. Again not too difficult.
    Nothing else should pose much of a problem.
    The only thing I would say is to check out what materials his artificial arm is constructed from. 100% stainless steel is fine but any other metal, especially ordinary steel, will corrode easily and quite quickly in a darkroom. It tends to be very humid and fix is particularly bad.
    The only link I know off hand that might help is
    But a quick Google should pull up more and you might find help from someone with a similar disability.
    Good luck to the both of you - and let me know if you have any problems and I'll do what I can to help. And let me know what happens in any event as I may be able to help someone else later.
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