Since the use of film in photography has dropped away to a minute fraction of what it was even ten years ago, and most of the darkrooms and suppliers have closed down, we’ve apparently reached a point where it’s found it’s own level now.
Many students are showing a keen interest in both black-and-white and colour film processes. Secondhand darkroom equipment prices, for so long in free-fall, are now on the rise. Even new films and papers are being developed.
Even so, now that there are only a few specialists about, it can be difficult to find the right supplier when you need them. So I thought it might be useful to make a list of the establishments I use in London. This list is by no means exhaustive, it’s just people that I use on a regular basis.
If you can recommend any other places please add the details in a comment – I still haven’t found somewhere to do full frame 35mm neg scans, for example, and I’d be very interested in hearing about anywhere!
I haven’t included the obvious places like Calumet and Jacobs largely since, even though they still stock some film related stuff, their emphasis is digital nowadays. Also I reckon everyone knows about them anyway.
Darkroom Services – hand processing and printing
Robin Bell – Robin is one of a kind. If you want the best exhibition or museum quality black-and-white prints make your way down to the little mews in Fulham.
Alan Robertson – One of the old school photography industry professionals, Alan is a great printer and knows all the tricks of the trade. Whether you need an old print restored, a film processed, a new print made – anything in fact – Alan will sort you out. It’s just sad to think that there don’t seem to be any youngsters learning the ropes – what are we going to do when Alan, and everyone like him, has retired? Alan is my neighbour in Iliffe Yard.
Darkside Photographic – A very good professional lab in Clerkenwell.
Rapid Eye – Good professional scanning services. They have a good reputation for colour work too, but I don’t know about that stuff.
Suppliers of Photographic Materials
Silverprint – Suppliers of all things analogue, as well as a wealth of advice. I buy paper and chemicals here, but they do much more.
Process Supplies – If you can’t get what you’re looking for here then you probably can’t get what you’re looking for.
Photofusion – They have an Imacon scanner you can use on an hourly basis, along with a wealth of other services available. You must pay a fee to join, but it’s well worth it if you frequent the place.
Fixation – They hire out film scanners, and a lot more.
I think that’s about it for the moment. I’ll add more if and when I think of them – but please feel free to add your own recommendations below.