Thursday, May 18, 2017

The Wilmington PD Darkroom

My interest in photography and the darkroom was driven on two fronts. First was using the darkroom at the Boy's Club and second was the darkroom at the Wilmington Police Department. My dad would take me into the police department sometimes and I would get the run of the place. The turnkey area, the radio room, the darkroom, and the offices. The radio room had a teletype machine and the radio room operator would let me send messages to other places for things like time checks and to respond if there was a incoming message. That was all fun stuff but the big fun thing was the darkroom. There was a steady stream of mugshots to develop and print but the most fun thing was the fingerprints. Yes, fingerprints. Before the days of computers they used to take a closeup photo of a crime scene fingerprint and then one of a file fingerprint and blow them both up to 8x10 or 11x14 and then compare them by eye. This really fascinated me. I felt like Colombo, I was helping solve a crime. I never knew exactly what the crime was but my imagination always had me thinking it was the crime of the century, a bank robbery or something like that.

It was this time in the darkroom at the WPD along with the Boy's Club that really drove my interest in photography.

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