hygienic darkroom retreat

profound rest for the self‑healing psyche

by andrew durham


Thanks to hundreds of people in a dozen countries on 2 continents for over 3 decades, who morally and materially aided me during my prodigal search, especially my:


…for heroic efforts to make this book real. In triage, you were as merciful as you could be:

  • Are Solheim, writer and fellow refugee in darkness, for seeing and believing in me and the book, for visionary editing, hosting me during the rewrite, and your compassion for humanity, even me
  • Magnus Vanebo, philosopher, for enthusiastically diving into the text and sensitively editing it


  • Bertrand Besigye, outlandish poet and fellow journeyman in darkness, for early support of the book

Immediate, extended, and adopted: I leaned on all of you that would let me. It can’t be easy rearing a stubborn 20, 30, then 40 year-old psychotic infant in a world that denies everything real. Thanks, especially, to:

  • Brother Paul, for shelter and guidance you should never have had to give
  • Grandmother Anna Lou Craig Callen Posey, always there
  • Brother Francois, for constant experience of love
  • Cousin Christopher, for your generosity and grit
  • Uncle Jim—dropout, drug dealer, beach bum, loser, cool-ass motherfucker—for laughingly giving the system the finger till the day you died. RIP, man.

Trimurti: my second family, torn away as soon as I noticed, for helping further raise me


…for friendship, support, and/or raising the bar so high that anti-gravity boots became necessary. And especially:

  • Jack Nuckols: a giant and first among my elders, you took care of me till I found my way. RIP.
  • Willetta Warberg: you poured your heart and soul into me through your piano, kindness, and huge personality
  • John Boyer: you fed me with so much of your time
  • Purna Steinitz: you destroyed my sentimentality and kept your terrible promise. Shiva Shambo.
  • DeWaynn Rogers: you helped me up and kept me from the system’s clutches. RIP.
  • Finn Po: elder, master job trainer, and pioneer of the way of the future, you could not have done more

Each of you gave me the world.

old friends
  • John Roberts: lifelong best friend, tremendous supporter, and host
  • Daniel Meulbroek: guardian, supporter, and host extraordinaire
  • Brian Riggs Sullivan: full-throttle collaborator, who gave first help in developing these ideas and, as always, trying them out
  • Evelyn Thomas and Alton Sterling Voss: supporters, fellow investigators and survivors
  • Ian Robertson: for the life-ring of rationality when it mattered most
since darkness
  • America
    • Rob Miller, Malia Shultheis, and Jen Carroll: supporters and early retreat hosts
    • Jesse King, John Monroe, and Elisabeth Goward, Dome Villagers at Maitreya Ecovillage, Eugene: serious camaraderie and support
    • Blanche Colson: for getting Finn and me started in commercial window coverings for darkrooms. Of course, it was cardboard.
    • Hannah Christina Torres for the second prototype window covering idea
    • Daniel Tucker and Les Stitt, then Ben Ramsey and Stephanie: for KCMO shelter
  • Guatemala
    • The Maya: for your friendship and unshakable presence
    • Chrissy Weisgard: friend, host, supporter, and, like Sandro, a fellow dyed-in-the-wool darkness spelunker
    • Niels Gronau: for the miraculous Guatemalan facility
    • Elena Rago: friend and provider of an experimental facility
    • Karsten: friend, supporter, client, and for lending me tools and a workshop where such things are rare
    • Tom Savage: friend and supporter
    • Sandro Garcia, Nancy Gayle Martin, and Violet: heroic friends, hosts, supporters, retreatants
    • Joshua Brang: friend, supporter, travel agent
    • All my clients in Guatemala: for exploring darkness with me
  • Europe
    • Kostas: fast friend, host, and shepherd from Greece to Northern Europe
    • David Friman and Erika Hedstrom, for darkroom design test space
    • Oscar, Limme, and Max at Kulturforeningen Gryning of Helsingborg: friends and supporters. Cheers!
    • Anna Ericksson: supporter and darkness experimenter
    • Sanna Aatig: friend, supporter, host, and nurse in my darkest days
    • Frank Cicela: angel supporter since 2002!
    • Brad Crutchfield: friend, always-interested supporter, and deep well-wisher
    • Åsa Ringstrom and Johan Lörne: friends and supporters
    • Johan Järlind: work partner, investor, retreat host, supporter, confidant, and friend in a critical year. You gave me so much, I’m speechless except… thank you.
    • Richard Nöjd for hardwon darkroom design ideas
    • A woman, unnamed, who initiated me in an essential part of my lost self, leading to the conclusive test of this idea
    • Marcus Ivarsson and Emma Sofie Berg: connectors
    • Stisse and Carina Gilgren: Swedish godparents
    • The people and place of Skattungbyn, Sweden
    • Dr Anette Kjellgren: for unqualified, professional encouragement
    • Oscar Nelson for the donation that sustained me and the book for a winter
    • Bård Anders Lien, friend, host, sponsor, apprentice and guide in Oslo
    • Terje Tjensvoll, supporter, host, collaborator, and guardian
    • Elisabette Molin: friend, host, and champion retreat supporter
    • Simen Kirkerød, Astrit Gashi: friends, hosts, collaborators
    • Ketil Berg, friend, host, sponsor, treasurer extraordinaire. Without you, 2015 would have been very hard to survive.
    • Marie Richert and Virginie Bournaud, friends, hosts, sponsors, and guides in Paris
    • 40 contributors to my successful 2016 crowdfund to support my 20-day retreat, sadly aborted at 5 days. I’ll try again.
    • Aimee Fenech and TomTom, friends, hosts, helpers, and mentors
    • Mary Salama for proof-editing this book
    • Marion Abbott, for endless transworld conversations and constant in-the-trenches support starting 2016

I called some people here guides, but anyone who hosted me also guided me. I’ve needed a lot of help for a long time. Everyone on this list put a lot of time and energy into me and my work.

I also made enemies and hurt some people along the way. I’m sorry it didn’t go the way we thought at first. Here’s hoping it was not in vain.

Acknowledgments in books usually bore me. This one I cannot reread without weeping. Onward, then, till the task is complete.

<   ^   >