Makena Klinge


Keeping the art of darkroom photography alive in a digital world


I can’t recall a specific time in my life when I fell in love with photography. It’s been more of a constant companion to me, a comfort in this crazy life, something I can always come back to. It’s dependable. It’s exciting. And most importantly, it’s a much-needed creative outlet for my restless mind that seems incapable of slowing down.

I didn’t grow up with a crazy amount of photography exposure. it was never a “hobby” to anyone in my family. Nevertheless, I was fascinated with it from a very young age. I think what got my attention in the first place was the idea behind capturing moments in life, of freezing pieces of time, of documenting memories in a tangible form that I can look back on in the future. When I take pictures, I feel like a type of magician. Like I’m doing voodoo. It’s exhilarating and it fills me with an unexplainable adrenaline – every time.

Since photography is always on my mind (more or less), it was a no-brainer to base my enterprise story on the topic. One area of photography that I’ve always been interested in but haven’t got around to really studying or practicing is darkroom photography – which is why it was perfect to dive into it for this story.

It was surprisingly easy to find sources for my story since I am currently in a photography class at the University of Utah – to fulfill my minor in photography – and most everyone I reached out to was very excited and willing to speak to me about my topic. The first person I contacted was my current photography professor, who was more than happy to help me out. Then I contacted the owner of the darkroom studio in Salt Lake City, who was also extremely nice and forthcoming with information. I only came across one hiccup with finding my third source, but I ended up reaching out to the president of the Photo Club at the U and he contributed perfectly to the direction of the story. I couldn’t be happier with the sources I got to communicate with for this project!

Overall, I had smooth sailing in this venture of playing journalist for the first time. Besides one source not responding and having to conduct one interview over email (due to busy schedules), it couldn’t have gone better. The only thing I struggled with was trying to narrow down all the information I collected and pick a focus. Which in all reality, is the best problem I could’ve had, so nothing too major to complain about.

The most important thing I learned through the writing process is that you just have to sit down and write. That’s all it takes! But boy did I struggle with just getting a story down on paper. I’m not a procrastinator, never have been, but for some reason this project intimidated me immensely. I think it’s the fact that I have absolutely zero experience in this type of writing, and it scared me because I just had to jump in and do it. Plus, the hardest part for me of any writing project is starting. I made it through though and came out realizing that it was easier than I thought. I just had to find the courage to begin and realize that everything would turn out just fine.

It was an interesting and great experience to learn more about a topic I’m interested in, in a journalist mindset. I’m grateful that I was forced (in a sense) to write a story like this, because I learned that I really love it. Which is good considering it’s the career field I plan to go into.


I’m a busy bee, I always need to be doing something.

Whether that’s photography, sports, reading, journaling, playing the ukulele, running, outdoor activities and spending time with family and friends. My faith in God is the biggest part of my life, and I try my best to live that out every day. I also really enjoy learning and school. At the University of Utah, I am studying journalism and international studies, along with a minor in photography.

I hope to work for a company like National Geographic as a traveling photographer/journalist at some point. My goal is to travel the world and experience all the different cultures and tell all the stories of everyone from everywhere. We all have stories to tell that can contribute to and change the world, I hope to be the one to tell them.