Friday, December 7, 2012

New Project Announcement and First Interview

Well folks this is it, I know you've been waiting very patiently and here it is:


Film Interviews Project

I am embarking on a series of interviews some of which I will conduct in person while traveling in Gilli and some of which will have to be conducted via e-mail because Gilli can't fly and there are people across the world that I would like to get involved.

The interviews will be aimed at elucidating a few things about the state of traditional photography today.  I will seek out artists working with analog means (both new and established ones), photo gallery and museum staff, educators, producers of photographic materials, processing labs, and pretty much anyone else I can think of who had anything to do with film photography.  The interviews will at first be published here on this blog and later in a book form (providing the success of the new funding campaign that I am about to launch - more on that in the next post).

With these interviews I hope to provide the public with a few bits of information such as where they can get buy and process their film, why some artists are still working with analog (and why new ones are starting to work with it all the time), which companies are manufacturing what products and what do we have to look forward to, what do photo galleries and museums have to offer in terms of their dedication to traditional prints and what do teachers of various institutions feel about the darkroom craft.

With that I hope to inspire more people to pick up a film camera of any format and go out and gain some confidence and experience by shooting film.  
• • •
Here is the first interview - if you have any suggestions for questions to labs for future interviews feel free to contact me via email
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Gaslamp Photo Interview
The following interview was conducted with Dan Novice – owner of the last commercial lab in San Diego area that still deals with film.  The mane of the lab is Gaslamp Photo and it’s information can be found at 
Q.  When did you open this lab and why?
A.  I started it in 1990 just because I was so passionate about images and the process of making great images and I still love it to this day.
Q.  What services does your lab offer?
A.  We do black and whit and C-41 film processing and digital printing up to 24x36in.
Q.  How did the advent of digital photography affect your business?
A.  We had to buy a lot of new equipment and learn the new tools to make digital imaging part of the business.  It’s been a good thing for us.
Q.  In what way has it been good?
A.  We’ve been able to add more cervices and become more automated. The amount of work that I can accomplish now is much greater than what we’ve been able to do in the darkroom days, the workflow is much more efficient these days.
Q.  What advice would you give to an aspiring film shooter today?
A.  To concentrate on composition.  I think digital shooters shoot like a machine gun and I think film is great because it allows people to slow down and look at the content of their images.  I think it’s a great tool for people to start with.
Q.  What is your favorite technique in analog photography and why?
A.  I like the traditional rough border – the filed out carrier.  To see the whole frame is just great.
Q.  Do you currently shoot your own images?
A.  I don’t print my own images because I don’t have a darkroom for printing.
Q.  Where do you see film photography in 25 years?
A.  You know, I’d like to say that it will survive.  I see things being discontinued and it’s kind of discouraging, but I see other companies coming in and picking up where Kodak has dropped off and there are other companies out there that are thriving.  I still see a lot of enthusiasts who are very excited about it.  We have students come in who have never seen a roll of film and don’t even know what it is and at the end of the semester they keep shooting and they keep coming in, so that’s encouraging.
Q.  Anything else you would like to add?
A.  I just still love film and I love seeing it come out of the machine, I love to print it – it’s an enjoyable process.  Being in the darkroom I think is therapeutic and very relaxing and I think a lot of these younger kids who have not shot (film) before, they have been all digital, and now they get in the darkroom and a lot of them love it, they really enjoy it.  Time goes by fast you know, but it’s relaxing and I like it.
Notes from Anton:
I still remember when there were about a dozen labs in San Diego where one could bring a roll of Tri-X and have it processed on site.  Now Dan is holding down the fort on his own.  About 4-5 years they had to move out of the heavily gentrified Gaslamp district of San Diego and now he is located in Mission Valley.  Dan was very accommodating in inviting me back to see today’s set-up and even offered to process my roll of film that I shot around his lab – I politely declined only because I get an enormous sense of satisfaction out of processing my own black and white.  I got some great images using my Rolleiflex, for now here are some digital images of the place:

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