If you had told me in 2020 that I would be opening a film lab in Milwaukee in three years, I would have laughed. But here we are.
I have been doing so many things, but it never occurred to me to do the thing that I love doing as a real career. Developing and scanning film have always been something I do for some "me time". I get to relax, listen to a podcast, experience the magic of film again for the thousand time as if it were the first.
Talking to friends who work in the industry, it's clear that all of our favorite labs are busy. So busy a lot of them are at capacity, with lead times a few weeks out in some cases. I realized I had a unique opportunity.
I lost my previous job this last November, and I was overwhelmed with the prospect of finding another job in Milwaukee. I was extremely lucky with the studio gig I did find when I moved here, but I wasn't confident that my luck would continue. After a frustrating couple of months worth of job searching, I realized the solution was taking up space in the kitchen next to the sink this entire time.
I have spent a large chunk of my life, since high school, experimenting and honing my skills developing and scanning film. I messed around with stand development, cross processed every film stock I can think of, was an early adopter of the sous vide technique, and have taught more than a handful of my friends how to process their own film at home.
I still am a big believer in doing it yourself and processing film at home. It is incredibly fun and endlessly rewarding. However, I realize how important it is for good, high quality, affordable, and community oriented film labs to exist. The film market is volatile and much to a lot of film shooters disappointment, seems to be creeping higher every year. The only way we can keep the market from spiraling into oblivion is to have a robust foundation of support from skillful labs, and lots of them.
I'm excited to start this journey, and I can't wait to develop your film.