One of the most important aspects of your analogue lifestyle is finding the best film laboratories for you. As a Lomographer, you'd want those burned rolls in the safest hands. The ones you can rely on making your art. Taking film photographs is something, developing them is another. We have the Lomo Lab Services services for those within regional coverage to rely on. For those outside our range or want to test out other labs, we've asked some friends from the Community, Pearl, a.k.a. koduckgirl, Vincent, a.k.a. therover, Thomas a.k.a. flamingoid and Lea a.k.a. spiritfire to share their most-trusted film laboratories.
A Trustworthy Service
Pearl has lived in San Francisco for over 30 years, and she has witnessed the rise and fall of film and the favorite film labs -- including the San Francisco Lomo Lab back then and Adolf Gassers, who once owned a lab specified for the professional film photographers. All hope is not lost, however. Pearl suggests Photoworks for those around the Bay Area:
"The best lab in San Francisco these days in my humble opinion, is Photoworks on Market Street in The Castro area. I have been a regular client of Photoworks Lab for many years and the team is very devoted to their regular customers and can develop anything including the new Ferrania P30 black n white film and all Lomography, Yodica, Revolog, Kono, infrared, Xpro of all kinds plus panorama, sprockets included, large format, plus full high resolution or print scan to upload to Lomography site. In addition to all that... they do professional work with printing in all kinds of emulsions and paper types even metal and frames as well."
They also have their own social media platform in giving shoutouts to clients' work and film photography events.
Lea's go-to film lab is the FIND (Film Is Not Dead) Lab. Located in Orem, Utah, she entrusts their services in developing her Lomography films, especially colored negative ones. The company was originally an extension to the FIND workshops being held there before, and as time went on, the high demand for their film photography services came, obliging them to expand. The advantage of sending your films here is due to the fact that its core principle as the company is founded by love and passion for film and that they value film education.
" I'm pretty new to photography as a whole, so as a total newbie who was literally teaching herself everything through Lomography articles and YouTube tutorials, having a lab like the FIND Lab offer services that include feedback on each roll did a lot to help me learn how to get the most out of shooting, as well as ways to improve."
For Thomas, the Patani Studio is his favorite film lab as it caters to almost all film processes -- from C41, BB&W, E6, ECN-2, B&W reversal in all formats, from subminiature to large format with flawless results. No wonder it's the most sought-out lab among our Thai Lomographers.
"They can also propose high-quality optical enlargements and prints as well as high-resolution scans. And if you have the know-how, you can rent the darkroom and process film yourself or make prints. It's not the cheapest film lab in Bangkok and you may have to wait a few days but if you want the best, there it is."
Variety and Versatility
In Bangkok, you might as well drop by Photocity, a film lab, and shop near Central Lad Phrao. Developing and scanning can be done within an hour for C-41, around 100 Baht, or 3.27 USD. They also sell chemicals for self-developing. Thomas further shared:
"It's probably the most famous film lab in Bangkok is Photocity, near Central Lad Phrao. They have a large selection of films for sale, including your favorite films from Lomography, Kodak, Ilford, Foma, and the likes but also instant film, cinema film and rare imports from Japan. They develop and scan film faster than most and process film in 110, 135 and 120 formats (C41, E6 or B&W). If you're in a hurry or on a budget, this is your best option."
When it comes to his color negatives, Vincent entrusts the Photo République, an old-school shop located at 1 rue Félix Eboué in Marseilles. The shop stands out on the street thanks to its antique display. They offer scans of negatives of various film formats, from 6 x 6 to panoramic, and develop contact sheets, large plates, etc. The shop also develops cinefilms and is known for processing Lomography camera-taken pictures. The service is quick and you'll be able to get your photographs after a day, at the price of 20 euros for 100 photographs.
"I go to a small shop next to my place. It's more like an old-school place, in the neighborhood. I make my film developed and scanned there. I go there because it's close, I can exchange with the people running the shop (for advice and so). They also sell Lomography films for a few months. There are other labs in Marseille that offer more than basic development service but I've never been there."
More Analogue Labs to Explore
More suggestions from Vincent are the Camara Photodock and the Retine Argentique. a more sophisticated film lab that caters to both amateur and professional film photographers who might want 'exhibition-quality' of prints. Lea mentioned that her film friends swear by Harman Lab for all black-and-white developing in the US. For black and white film processing in Marseille, Vincent goes to the Maison Pour Tous du Parier, an associative club.
"For those who would like to have workshops in photography and learn about self-development in a lab (B&W), the associative structure: Maison Pour Tous du Panier. The lab is available from Monday to Saturday. A photographer is working there 2 days a week to manage the workshops (portrait, street photography etc.) and to teach basics of lab work."
Another place Thomas frequents by is Pro Color Lab, located in downtown Bangkok where tourist-Lomographers can easily access the place to develop and scan their films, however, they only process C41.
Another service she recommends is a group of analogue enthusiasts called Baereafilm:
" Baeareafilm is a group of analogue film enthusiasts that do Print Swaps and photowalks all over the bay area. Actually they just recently orchestrated a print swap by snail mail concept is that you send someone a print and receive a print from a different person than the one you sent to! Film is alive and breathing in our very cool community in the bay area!"