Darkroom 201

Introduction to Visual Storytelling with BW film


Darkroom 201 - Visual Story Telling Workshop

This workshop is designed to introduce participants to the idea of visual storytelling using the medium of black-and-white film photography. Participants will learn how to build a narrative with images created during the course of the workshop. Each participant will have to produce a set of 6-8 images that work together as a narrative. Participants will have the opportunity to shoot, process, and scan their own negatives in addition to working on the narrative. They will concentrate on one subject and develop a short story over the course of the workshop.

This intermediate-level workshop is open to anyone interested in film photography and storytelling over the age of 20. Participants are expected to know how to use a film camera, and properly expose film. If you don’t have access to a film camera, you can hire one from the CPB Darkroom. Participants can choose to work in either 35mm or 120mm film formats. 2 rolls of CPB Respool 35mm film of your chosen ISO are included in the workshop cost. Optionally, you can choose to purchase other branded films from the CPB Darkroom or bring your own supply.

During the workshop, you will have access to the CPB community darkroom to purchase film, process your rolls, and scan your negatives. If you are unaware of the process, the CPB darkroom team can process your rolls for you for a fee. However, everyone is expected to scan their own negatives. If you need guidance on how to scan your negatives, you can attend an optional scanning demo that will be held on day 1 of the workshop.


Thursday, March 28th, 5pm to 8pm

1.     Welcome note and introductions

2.     Lecture - Introduction to Visual Storytelling

3.     Discussion of the assignment

4.     Darkroom orientation

* Optional - Film scanning demonstration (4pm-5pm)


Friday, March 29th, 10am to 8pm

Participants are expected to shoot, process, and scan 1st roll of film by 5pm on Friday. 

1.     Shoot - Till 12pm

2.     Lab hours for processing film on your own - 10am to 2pm. 

3.     Drop off hours for your film to be processed by CPB darkroom team 

- Slot 1 - 11am

- Slot 2 - 1pm

4.     Lab hours for scanning - 10am to 5pm.

5.     Review - 5pm to 8pm


Saturday, March 30th, 10am to 8pm 

Participants are expected to shoot, process, and scan 2nd roll of film by 5pm on Saturday. 

1.     Shoot - Till 12pm

2.     Lab hours for processing film on your own - 10am to 2pm. 

3.     Drop off hours for your film to be processed by the CPB darkroom team 

- Slot 1 - 11am

- Slot 2 - 1pm

4.     Lab hours for scanning - 10am to 5pm.

5.     Review and image selection for printing - 5pm to 8pm


Sunday, March 31st, 10am to 6pm

1.     Image printing at a digital lab - 10am to 12pm

2.     Final edit and critique - 12pm to 6pm


1.     35mm film camera

2.     At Least 2 rolls of 35mm film

3.     Light meter app

4.     Notebook for taking notes

5.     Digital lab prints

Workshop Cost - Rs 9,500 per person for Darkroom 101

Student Discount - 20% against valid student ID

Rent a Film Camera: Rs 600 for 48 hours (T&C apply)

Group Size - Minimum 5 up to a maximum of 8 participants.

Venue: CPB Lighthouse, Kottivakkam, Chennai.

Workshop Fee Includes 1. Access to the Darkroom and Scanning facilities as per workshop schedule.

2. 2 rolls of CPB 35mm Respool Black and White film of your chosen ISO

3. Mentorship and guidance by the workshop mentor

4. Access to optional purchases at discounted prices

Additional Costs (mandatory)

As part of the final stage of the workshop you are required to make Lab Prints - 5 x 7 inch sized of your selected images for the final editing. CPB will pre-negotiate a discounted rate with a local lab. Based on the number of images that are selected in conjunction with the mentor, you will need to cover the cost of the same. You can also choose to manage this yourself from a lab of your choice as long as you are able to attend the final session with your prints by 12pm on Sunday.

Optional Costs (Special Pricing for Workshop Participants Only)

  • CPB Respool 35mm - ISO 100 or 400 - 36 frames (2 included) - Rs 450 per roll
  • Ilford Delta 100 - 35mm - 36 frames - Rs 1050 per roll
  • Ilford Delta 100 - 120mm - Rs 950 per roll
  • Processing of 35mm B&W Film - Rs 300 per roll
  • Push/Pull Processing - Rs 100 per stop
  • Lab Prints - per 5 x 7 inch print - TBC
  • 35mm Film Camera Rental - for 72 hours - Rs 1000 ** Refundable rental deposit of Rs 3,000 to be given in cash along with original ID proof.


Aishwarya Arumbakkam is a visual artist who works across photography, filmmaking, and drawing.

Arumbakkam was honored as one of the ‘Ones to Watch’ by the British Journal of Photography in 2019. In 2020, she was awarded the Magnum Foundation Photography and Social Justice Fellowship. Her work has been exhibited at Testsite, Austin (2023); The South London Gallery (2022); The Visual Arts Center, Austin (2022, 2020); and Ishara Art Foundation, Dubai (2021).


Each participant is expected to arrive 15min early for all sessions. Attendance is mandatory for the entire workshop. Each session builds upon the previous session, and it is important you are punctual and present. Please be respectful of each other and the space, and follow darkroom etiquette as instructed. 


  • To receive a student discount please send an email to darkroom@chennaiphotobiennale.com with a clear scan/photo valid student ID. Valid submissions will receive a student discount code to be used for online payment on this page. 

  • After each workshop, participants will have access to the darkroom as well as film and paper stocks at discounted prices so that they can continue their film photography journey. 

  • Participants renting a film camera are required to provide a security deposit of Rs 3,000 (in cash only) as well as an original ID which will be returned against the safe return of the camera.

  • If minimum bookings as specified above is not reached, the workshop will be postponed and a full refund will be provided for any bookings.

Cancellation and Refund Policies for Workshops

These conditions apply to bookings of any of our workshops.

A refund of 100% if cancellation 12 days before workshop date

A refund of 70% if cancellation between 11 and 7 days before workshop date

A refund of 50% if cancellation between 6 and 1 days before workshop date

No show - Zero refund if you don't show up on the workshop date 

  • Canceling up to 12 days before the workshop will be charged 30% of the total fee

  • No compensation will be made for no show or cancellations up to 7 days before the workshop. 

In the event that the organizer cancels the workshop a 100% refund will be provided within 7 working days.

Workshop Cancelled or postponed

  • If a workshop is canceled by the organization, a full refund will be initiated.

  • If a workshop is rescheduled to another date, the amount will be compensated to the new date, in consultation with you. 

  • In case you are unable to make it to the workshop on the rescheduled date, we can provide you with a credit note, which can be used in a similar workshop of the same price within 6 months (from the date mentioned on the credit note).

  • If you are unable to attend the workshop and would like to transfer it to another participant, there won’t be any extra charges but this information should be communicated via email 10 days before the workshop.