Sadly it seems that a combination of the rapidly changing marketplace for photographic services and the tailspin that has taken control of the Spanish economy has caused the sudden closure of my local professional lab, BN Profesional in Valencia.
Known to many simply as ByN, the Spanish acronym for B&W or Black and White, this lab had been the prime professional resource in Valencia for many years, and I have been a client since February 2002 when I moved to the city. Obviously B&W processing, which had once – judging by the name – been the main business, had diminished in importance over the years. I sometimes got the impression that I was the only old-school customer they had left. But the company had invested heavily in digital output. They could produce the huge colour prints so beloved by galleries these days, but also even larger prints for the commercial market.
A company that was looking to the future, then. So what went wrong? Who knows. All I can tell you is that after a few days calling and getting an engaged signal I visited the place on Monday. The familiar office had the appearance of a place rapidly vacated. The piles of papers always on the desks had been knocked over, display stands upset, that sort of thing. It wasn’t as if the place had been trashed exactly, just that the occupiers had left in a hurry. The security shutter hadn’t even been pulled down.
Meantime I’ve been digging out my old dev tank and trying to track down a photo shop that still stocks chemicals.