CPB Foundation X Photoworks

Darkroom Residency 2024

Read the below timeline carefully and APPLY HERE!

About the residency:

The CPB Foundation and Photoworks supported by the British Council announce a rare opportunity for artists to work in a community darkroom in Chennai, India to produce a body of images that will be displayed at Chennai Photo Biennale Edition 4 and Photoworks Festival. Two artists from the UK and one from Chennai, India will be selected via an open call with a jury process. 

The selected artists will gather in Chennai, India in December 2024 to be residents at the CPB Community Darkroom for one and a half months to work on their proposed project.

The CPB Community Darkroom is a first-of-its-kind space in the South of India that focuses on research and teaching of historical photography processes. The Darkroom offers low-cost film and allied development services to the analogue community in India. The space is equipped with all the things that one would need to further artistic practice - cameras of all formats, enlargers, printers for negatives, purified water supply, chemicals of all types and a dynamic team who are happy to help.

This call is open to photographers and artists working with historical photographic practices that include but are not limited to cyanotype, salted paper, van dyke brown, gum arabic, gum oil, wet and dry plate collodion, silver gelatin processes, film photography and variants,  and other technology-based interventions.

Applicants are required to propose a project that they are keen to execute in Chennai. Artist proposals can include the making of prints/objects from existing photographic images or the creation of new work in Chennai (using analogue processes). 

The project outcome is a residency showcase that will be presented in Chennai and UK for which residents are required to create two sets of exhibition prints for display. At the end of the respective showcases, the exhibition prints may be retained by organisers for an agreed period of time for future exhibitions and selected works as relevant may be donated for internal collections and displays. Other works may be retained by the artists after the end of the residency.

Who Can Apply?

  • UK-based applicants must have a valid passport. Applicants can be of any nationality.

  • Chennai-based applicants must be local residents

  • Artists should be able to demonstrate experience of working with analogue photography in a darkroom/similar environment.

Application Requirements: 

  1. Name, full contact details, website/instagram, web links to related content press/features

  2. Why you would like to take part in this darkroom based residency in India with CPB X Photoworks,  and brief overview of past residency experience (max 350 words)

  3. Project Proposal (max 800 words) outlining detail on the subjects and techniques that the applicant is looking to focus on.

  4. Artist Bio (max 500 words) including the relevant experience with analogue photography.

  5. Current Resume 

  6. Portfolio of a max 20 images showcasing examples of works/projects that are related to applicant’s analogue photography, with captions as relevant.

  7. Please add any other information that we should be aware of in relation to your application

How to Apply?

  1. Download and Complete the Application Form (link below)
  2. Compile the completed application form (in PDF), an updated resume (in PDF) and a portfolio of relevant work (in PDF) in an email.
  3. The subject of the email should read ‘Darkroom Residency_FirstName LastName_UK’ or ‘Darkroom Residency_FirstName LastName_Chennai’ and send the email to  residency@chennaiphotobiennale.com.

Download the application form here!

Project Timelines:

  • May 15th to June 24th (10am BST, 12:30pm IST)  2024 - Open Call Period

  • June 24th to June 28th 2024 - Jury Process

  • July first week - Selection announcement 

  • December 5th 2024 to January  20th 2025 - Residency and Showcase Period

  • 20th Dec 2024  Chennai Photo Biennale Edition 4 - Phase 1 Opening 

  • 17 January 2025 Chennai Photo Biennale Edition - Phase 2 Opening

What the Residency Includes?

  • Honorarium of INR 1,00,000  // GBP  1000

  • Flight Tickets and Visa Fees for UK Artists to arrive in Chennai

  • Online and physical check-in meeting with Photoworks and Chennai Photo Biennale Edition teams

  • Accommodation in a private bedroom in Chennai for each of the UK artists for the residency period

  • A per diem of INR  50,000 / GBP 500 per artist for all three artists for the 45 days in Chennai to cover meals/local transport

  • A modest production allowance is available to residents to procure watercolour paper/film/darkroom paper or any other specialised materials that are needed to execute the residency project and final exhibitions. Such expenses should be discussed and pre-approved by the organisers during the residency.

Terms & Conditions

  • Applicants should read the above timeline carefully and ensure they are available to participate in the entire project before submitting any applications. Partial participation in the project is not acceptable.

  • UK Applicants must have a passport which is valid until at least June 2025.

About the CPB Darkroom:

Just about two kilometers from the beach, nestled in a serene corner of a verdant, tree-lined neighborhood, the CPB Darkroom stands as a sanctuary for analogue aficionados from South India and beyond. Offering affordable film development services and fostering a vibrant community of analogue enthusiasts, this space is a haven for artistic exploration.

Equipped with a comprehensive array of tools and resources, the Darkroom provides everything necessary to nurture creative endeavours. From a wide range of cameras spanning various formats to state-of-the-art enlargers, digital printers, and a meticulously maintained supply of chemicals, every aspect is tailored to support and enhance artistic practice.

Designed with versatility in mind, the Darkroom comprises two distinct phases that can be accessed independently. The first phase, dedicated to printing, features three enlargers, a UV light box, and ample workspace including a spacious tabletop for planning prints and cutting papers. Beneath the surface lies a generously sized splash sink, ideal for developing and washing prints with precision and care.

The second phase is tailored for film development, boasting a comprehensive selection of chemicals and the flexibility to accommodate individual artists' unique requirements. Here, creators are empowered to experiment and refine their craft, supported by a knowledgeable and enthusiastic team dedicated to facilitating artistic growth.

In recognition of the evolving nature of artistic practice, the Darkroom is equipped to embrace hybrid processes that seamlessly blend analogue and digital techniques. With cutting-edge tools such as the Epson v800 Flatbed scanner, a DSLR scanning rig, and an Epson p9000 archival printer capable of producing digital negative transparencies, artists are encouraged to push the boundaries of traditional methods and explore new avenues of expression.

Accessibility Note: 

Unfortunately, at this time the community darkroom is not accessible to artists with mobility challenges. We strive to make improvements for future editions of our residency. If you have any specific accessibility requirements please feel free to reach out to us before putting in an application.

About Photoworks:

Photoworks champions photography for everyone. We are an international platform, global in reach, and have provided opportunities for artists and audiences since 1995. We do not have a physical venue, but our online channels are always open. Our programme brings new experiences to audiences and opens up new ways to encounter photography. 

Photoworks is a registered charity and the only organisation with a national remit for photography in England. Our work is supported by public funding through Arts Council England’s National Portfolio. Photoworks is led by Louise Fedotov-Clements, Director. 



About CPB Foundation:

CPB Foundation is a non-profit dedicated to expanding the engagement around the photographic medium across age groups and interest levels. The foundation works with various stakeholders across its core verticals - CPB Prism (school students), CPB Learning Lab (college students and community at large) and the Chennai Photo Biennale (public-art festival). In 2023, the foundation established the CPB Lighthouse, a Center for Photography housing the CPB team as well as a community darkroom, an art lab for pedagogy and discussion and a photobook library.

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2/342 A, 1st Cross Street, AGS Colony, Kottivakkam, Chennai - 600041

Our doors are open from 10:30 AM to 6:00 PM from Monday to Friday.