- The latest season of “Stranger Things” debuted on Netflix on July 4, and fans are loving it.
- In the third season, two of the show’s characters work at a local newspaper. Given the ’80s setting, that newspaper uses a photography darkroom to develop its photos.
- But viewers in 2019 who grew up with smartphones and the internet aren’t necessarily aware of what a darkroom is, which resulted in a hilarious – and now viral – question.
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The third season of “Stranger Things” is a delightful re-creation of 1980s smalltown America that’s long gone, right down to the Waldenbooks and Sam Goody in the local mall.
It was a time before smartphones and the internet, before memes and the retail apocalypse. It was a time when photographs still had to be developed by hand in a “darkroom,” just like one of the show’s main characters has to do repeatedly while working for a local newspaper.
But let’s say you grew up in a world where photography was all handled by a magical supercomputer in your pocket – you might not know what “the purpose of this ‘red room’ is.
That’s exactly what happened with one user posting to the online forum StackExchange in a question that’s since gone viral on social media:
The “red room,” of course, is a darkroom used for developing photos.
But the idea of a “Stranger Things” viewer outright not knowing what such a room is and what it’s used for has made some folks feel absurdly old.
*crumbles further into dust* pic.twitter.com/VRYFCdm6xE
— double space after fullstop (@soapachu) July 26, 2019
This made me feel 400 years old https://t.co/hjYVNNaZxR
— Keza MacDonald (@kezamacdonald) July 26, 2019
Ye Ölden Tymes. When I spent hours in a red room. Then many more hours cutting and pasting onto physical paper to make layouts. https://t.co/fgqV2B53XQ
— dark was the night (@djnst) July 26, 2019
Thankfully, folks in the StackExchange forum generously supplied a thorough answer to the use of a darkroom in photography, and why a red light would be used to illuminate such a room.
But just in case you’re wondering yourself: Before digital photography, images were developed by hand in chemical baths kept in “darkrooms.” Light from the outside could potentially ruin any photos being developed, so a red light (which doesn’t interfere with photo development) is often used.
And for the millions of you who grew up with darkrooms and manually developed photos: Yep, this is where we’re at. Just wait until they start asking about cassettes!