Bringing back film: a new open-access darkroom comes to Camden

PUBLISHED: 15:00 06 September 2017

Credit: Philip Grey

Credit: Philip Grey

Archant

Analogue photography is making a comeback, and a new photo lab is set to open in the autumn

Film isn’t dead – and to prove it, a new open-access darkroom is coming to the heart of Camden to encourage all analogue photographers to develop their own photos.

The facility will provide film-based photographers with the opportunity to print their own work. The pair behind the project, Philip Grey and Verdi Yahooda – both experienced photographers – will also offer courses and workshops to teach basic photographic skills, darkroom techniques and more advanced specialist processes.

It might seem a bit of an anachronism – aren’t we all walking around snapping photos with our phones? – but Philip Grey, who’s behind the project, says: “I’ve seen many people under thirty who were born after the analogue photography era who are taking an interest in darkrooms and developing of photos. And for people like me, in their fifties and sixties, it can be a way of escaping the city: a darkroom is a very soothing place, cut off from the rest of the world.”

When asked whether he is rattled by the public’s preference for substandard phone cameras over traditional ones, Grey says: “I find the indiscriminate obsession with selfies objectionable, but that the proliferation of photography through phone cameras isn’t inherently disheartening.”

He rather diplomatically adds: “Sure it results in lots of awful images, but these were being produced in the past too, by people with their point-and-shoot cameras. Then, their photographs were generally only seen by family and close friends; nowadays, thanks to the internet, more people can be subjected to these photographic travesties!”

The number of labs able to process film is dwindling fast, and the opportunities for people to experience the buzz of printing their own images is almost non-existent.

“This is where darkroom comes in: we want to support this revival of interest by creating a well-equipped place for enthusiasts to come,” says Grey. A fit-for-purpose lab and experienced professionals in the heart of North London: if you’ve been waiting for your cue to take up a new, hip hobby, this is it.

Darkroom are planning to open for business in the autumn.

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