I read this beautiful if sad elegy to one of Seattle’s last film photo labs at PetaPixel today. I went to Capitol Hill 60 Minute Photo for the first twenty years of my photo-life. They were four blocks from my apartment, and developed every picture I took. Some of my most recent photocollages are made from scanning and enlarging their 4×6 prints from my archives, and the grain and “authentic analog noise” of the actual print beats anything I can do purely digitally. Photographer Andrew Waits has done a wonderful homage to this institution and the forces of change that have led to its closing. The comments are worth reading also, as a capsule portrait of social attitudes towards technology and change. I thought this one was particularly well put:
“When my local one hour lab closed a few years ago, I lost an advisor, a mentor a collaborator and friends. The lab staff was involved in every project that I was and took a real and heartfelt interest in what I was doing. They were partners. I really looked forward to seeing them on a Monday morning. The jingle of the door bell, the strange aroma mix of coffee and stop bath, the rhythmic hum and whir of the machines and a hearty “good morning, what have you got for us today?” can’t be replicated. Here I sit, in front of my computer screen, excited about what has been downloaded from my SD cards, beautiful Nikon DSLR on the counter, printer all inked up and ready, alone.”
Whew. So true. We can all be masters of our digital universe now, if we have the money and the equipment, and it can be real quiet.