Over the last 9 months Camera Ventures has been researching the current state of analog photography around the world, interviewing hundreds of people from CEOs integral to the industry, to upcoming young enthusiasts. We have gone on to undertake a survey of over 7500 analog enthusiasts from around the globe so that we can see how vibrant, varied and ultimately how healthy the analog camera scene is. This all with the hope that we can answer whether analog photography has what it takes to survive and be appreciated by the generations to come. If you’ve already taken part in our survey then we’d like to thank you for helping with this project, and if you’re yet to do so you can still take part here.
Scanning and developing. For some people the processing is all part of the… process – getting hands on and developing your own film, getting that perfect reproduction of the negative scanned in to your computer is as much a part of the experience as making the exposure. For others the developing and scanning stage can just be an annoying obstacle between taking the photo and seeing the results. Here at Camera Ventures we wanted to see how contemporary analog shooters were approaching this in the UK. With film developing becoming more of a specialist interest, finding locations to process film is becoming tougher. Are UK analog shooters trending to develop and scan themselves, or are they seeking out specialist develop and scan locations?
In our survey we asked how photographers are developing their film and also how they’d recommend newcomers to approach this task. Here are our results: We found that 38% of people preferred to develop their own film, 33% choose to use a local lab and 29% opt to use an online or postal service. Of those that choose to develop their own film, 43% stated it was due to their developing results being superior to those they’d experienced from other places, 40% said it was due to home developing being cheaper and 17% because it was faster for them to home develop.
We thought it would be helpful for new photographers to get some recommendations on where to start getting their films developed. Some of the most popular recommendations were: AG Photographic in Birmingham, thedarkroom.com, filmdev.co.uk, Harrison Cameras in Sheffield, peak-imaging.com, Photographique in Bristol, West End Cameras in London or through local high street stores that still offer this service such as Boots Pharmacy or large Asda and Tesco supermarkets.
While there are many of us still passionate about shooting analog, it’s often desirable and sometimes even necessary to get your analog photographs scanned and digitised. We asked our UK respondents to let us know how they get their photos from the developing tank to the disc drive: 45% of people said they have their negatives developed and scanned by someone else as part of a service, 26% scan and develop their own negatives, 22% scan their negatives after having them processed elsewhere and 6% said they don’t digitise their negatives.
From the survey results we can see that there is a diverse mix of analog enthusiasts in the UK taking interest in all different aspects of the analog process. Yet at the same time if you’re not attracted to the dev and scan process, you’re also not alone! If you’re new to the analog photography process then do feel free to check out some of the developing providers that were recommended by the photographers who took our survey, but also remember that’s still far from a complete list!