The Knoxville Community Darkroom

General Rules & Safety

"There are a few things you need to know before working at the Knoxville Community Darkroom. Take a moment to familiarize yourself with the information below." 

Image by Lisa Ellis Flanary

Image by Lisa Ellis Flanary

Welcome to KCD! Please read on for information on membership rules and responsibilities & darkroom policies and procedures.


• KCD is a membership based work space. Only registered members who are current on dues or paid workshop participants are allowed to work in this space.

• New members should complete a membership application and submit their initial payment, which will cover an orientation class.

• All new members must complete a Darkroom Orientation class that covers safety, member rules, building upkeep, chemical safety and disposal, cleaning responsibilities, and other important information. To RSVP for your session, please go to Facebook or MeetUp and select the Wednesday Open House event you'd like to attend.

• Members use KCD at their own risk, and should fully read Darkroom Hazards before entering the work space.

• All paid members will receive 24/7 access to the Darkroom via coded lockbox. The code will change monthly. All yearly paid members will receive a key to the Darkroom.

• All members should carefully review our General Rules Below. Repeated failure to comply with member responsibilities can result in termination of membership without refund.

• All members should carefully review and sign the Liability Release form at Orientation. It is your responsibility to ask a KCD Board Member if you have any questions or concerns about use of the darkroom. You may not work in the Darkroom without a signed Liability Release.

• KCD provides basic black and white developing chemicals for use in the darkroom. Please do not mix your own chemicals. Ask a Board Member, Volunteer or Artist in Residence for assistance, or notify us on Facebook if chemicals are running low.

• Absolutely no guests are allowed to work in the darkroom without prior authorization from KCD. Unauthorized guests will result in termination of membership.

• Absolutely no children under the age of 12 are allowed in the space, unless for a class or workshop, without prior authorization from KCD.

• KCD is not responsible for any lost, damaged or stolen items left unattended. If you would like to store items, such as your paper safe, it is recommended to clearly label it with your name.

• KCD reserves the right to revoke without refund the membership of any members who consistently do not respect other members, follow workroom procedures, or clean according to the posted guidelines.

General Rules &Working Guidelines

• Always assume that someone is working in the darkroom when entering the room. If you are working, turn on the red light above the revolving door. Use only the revolving darkroom door to enter the darkroom. Do not use the door closest to the entrance! Being careless when entering the darkroom can result in ruining another member's work.

• Take care with enlargers and accessories including easels, timers, and grain focusers. This equipment can be fragile. When adjusting easels, do so with the frames open, so as not to damage the blades. When adjusting enlargers, always grip the enlarger head tightly before loosening the bolts, as some enlarger heads are spring loaded.

• Use tongs and trays only with the chemicals for which they are labeled to avoid cross-contamination.

• Members should be respectful of others and should attempt to remove prints and films from wash stations promptly, in order to give the next person access to the washer.

• The film loading area in the front left corner of the darkroom is available for loading and processing of films. This area does lock from the inside, but please still knock before entering.

• Please do not use the darkroom for toning prints if anyone else is working in the darkroom.

• Remember that cleanliness in the lab is crucial to having a quality work space for all! Show respect to your fellow members by cleaning up after yourself. Pay special attention when you leave to the steps below in order to be sure you are fulfilling your membership responsibilities.

Before You Leave

• Always leave your enlarger station or work space in better condition than you found it. Lenses, film carriers, and timers should remain with their designated enlargers. Grain focusers, easels, and filters should be returned to their respective storage areas.

• Thoroughly wash all film tanks and leave all components un-assembled and inverted, in the drying rack in the film room.

• Review the cleaning list by the front door and choose at least one item off the list to complete. Leave your initials and the date next to each completed item. Always take your personal trash with you when you leave!

• Cleaning supplies are located in the restroom, under the sink.


• For fire, police or medical emergencies, CALL 911.

• Building address is 5117 Homberg Drive, Knoxville, TN 37919.

• First aid kit is located in the restroom and the utility sink nozzle can be pulled out to use as an eye wash.

• For building issues of a time sensitive nature (like plumbing leaks or electricity issues) call (865) 742-2578. If you do not get an answer, be sure to leave a message describing the problem. If at all possible, please do not leave the building if there is a large issue happening.

Have an issue? Please let us know!
Call a Board Member! Our phone numbers are listed by the front door.

• If a piece of equipment isn't working properly, please do not try fix it yourself - let us help!

• If we are running low on a certain chemical, let us know and we will mix more stock solution.

• Please be mindful that this is a shared space. If you think you may have contaminated a working solution or if you may have damaged a piece of equipment, don't leave it for someone else to discover, just let us know with a call or an email. We understand that accidents happen.

Protect Yourself and Your Prints

Wear gloves or use tongs when processing. Only use your bare hands to remove prints from the water or wash your prints.

When you are done, whether you’ve used tongs or gloves, please wash your hands before eating, drinking or smoking.

There are small wash clothes provided, please dry your hands frequently to cut down chemical contamination. Leave used clothes hanging to dry on the sink.

Clean up spills immediately with lots of cold water and ensure all the chemicals are removed from the floor or table. Chemistry dries, turns into a powder and can then get on your clothing, skin or be inhaled.

Please no food or snacks in the Darkroom. Water with a lid is permitted, but please avoid drinks that would be sticky if spilled.

Be Safe

Most B&W chemicals are non-toxic or only slightly toxic, but please do not ingest, inhale or allow them to come in direct contact with your bare skin.

There is a slight chance of bronchitis, sinusitis, allergic sensitivity, skin rashes and other potential damage (primarily that occurs from long-term, unsafe exposure), so please follow KCD rules for handling chemistry in the Darkroom.

If you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant or taking any lithium carbonate based medication that you have your Doctor’s approval to work with B&W chemistry. If you notice any sensitivity or change in your health while working in the Darkroom, please immediately consult your physician.

In the Event of an Emergency

Inhalation of Chemistry: Move to fresh air immediately. If you are struggling to breathe, call 911. We are located at 5117 Homberg Drive, Knoxville, TN 37919.

Ingestion of Chemistry: Call poison control at 1-800-222-1222 and tell them what the person ingested and follow their directions to help the person. If more information is needed for poison control, check the MSDS (Materials Data Sheets) for all the chemicals we use in the Darkroom. DO NOT induce vomiting unless poison control tells you to do so, and DO NOT give liquids to a person that is unconscious.

Chemicals Splashed in Eyes: Immediately flood the eyes with cold water at the white utility sink. Rinse them for 15 minutes. Seek immediate medical attention.

Chemicals Splashed on Skin: Immediately flood skin with cold water at the white utility sink. Seek immediate medical attention if any severe change in skin condition occurs.

Chemistry Hazards

Black & White Developer: Can cause allergic reaction and allergic sensitivity, and is especially hazardous during stock mixing stage. Use gloves when mixing working solutions and avoid skin contact with both powder and solution.

Stop Bath: Concentrate is toxic via skin contact, inhalation or ingestion. Long-term, improper, inhalation of working solution can cause severe sinusitis and bronchitis. Always measure water first and then add acid. If you splash in your eyes or skin, follow the procedures above.

Fixer: Not significantly hazardous, but there is a chance for skin irritation and allergies. If you splash in your eyes or skin, follow the procedures above.

Toners: We do not provide toners for use in the Darkroom. Some are highly toxic and some are only mildly toxic. If you are using a toner, never mix it with stop bath or fixers due to the potential release of poisonous gas like hydrogen sulfide. Always wash prints very thoroughly before toning them.