Films on windowsill (Pic: Estherkoon/Pexels)
(Pic: Estherkoon/Pexels)

 

A few short months ago, 2020 looked like it would be a bright year for film photography. Events like the first Analogue Spotlight at The Photography Show in the UK showed the film renaissance was in full swing.

And then coronavirus appeared.

In many parts of the world – from New York to New Zealand and Scotland to South Africa – emergency measures have been brought in to limit our movements. Bars, restaurants and non-essential businesses have been ordered to shut down. And in some places those non-essential businesses, unfortunately, include photo labs.

Film photographers are having to grapple with exactly the same isolation that any other photographer has to deal with – with one major difference. Unlike those shooting digital, we can’t just upload our pics onto our laptop and edit and share away.

We can’t visit our favourite labs until the restrictions currently in place ease. But not all labs are closed. Some have been able to stay open as long as they close the customer-facing parts of their business. We’re not the only ones: over on Facebook and Instagram, Finland’s Camera Rescue has also published a callout asking those labs who are still processing film to let them know they’re open for business.

The film revival relies on labs surviving this unprecedented commercial shutdown. So Kosmo Foto want to put together a list of labs around the world that will process your film amid the disruptions.

So, if you work for a lab and your lab is still open for business, please send an email to foto.dowling@gmail.com with the following info: the lab’s name, your postal address, website and phone number.

Kosmo Foto will publish this post in the next few days, and keep updating it.

Please put the word out via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and good old fashioned email – I really want to hear from as many labs as possible.

We film photographers need to do a little more than just popping our film in the post. Here’s a few guidelines to remember while we remain in lockdown:

  • If you are ill, or self-isolating because of an ill member in your household, please don’t send off film until after you have recovered (current World Health Organization guidelines are to self-isolate for 14 days from the day your symptoms began)
  • Please drop film in a post box rather than going to the post office if possible – pay for your postage online
  • Resist the temptation to send in anything that might require specialist or complicated processing

Not all labs are open, and we’d also like to add that if you have a longstanding relationship with your local lab, we’re not suggesting you turn your back on them. When restrictions lift, and labs are able to open their doors again, they’re going to need your business like never before.

Stephen Dowling
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amigo toro
amigo toro
4 months ago

This is a good time to explore self-processing.

Abi Knipscher
Abi Knipscher
2 months ago

I’m curious what labs are doing to keep people processing the film safe. Unless the film travels through the mail (some labs allow drop-off) it could still have active virus on it according to the CDC. And you can’t exactly Lysol 35MM film, right? Are labs holding film 72 hours before processing? What are best practices?