Buying film and processing it in Dublin

My favourite place to buy film in Ireland is actually off an Irish based website, The Photo Shop They are based in Meath, and in my experience they have always managed to deliver with in 48 hours. They are very pleasant to deal with, and very cost effective. You can buy a 35mm roll of 36 shots for €3.13. They also sell processing chemicals and other darkroom supplies. I am a big fan of their ‘bargain basement’ feature where they sell expired film, or film which is near the end of its shelf life, for a cheaper price. Brilliant if you're beginner or just strapped for cash.

 

If I wanted to buy film in a shop I would head to John Gunns, on Wexford street, just opposite Whelan’s. He is an extremely helpful and friendly man and is happy to explain anything you don’t understand. His prices are great, and affordable. If I am in no rush to get film processed I will get it done in Gunns. On the other hand if I was in a hurry for film processing I would choose conns cameras.

 

Conns is located just off Wicklow street behind Brown Thomas. They are very fast and efficient, but the film can be quiet pricey. Their cheapest 35mm is €4.99, so not great if you're on a budget. The shop is often very busy so it can be difficult to ask questions as they have a lot of people to deal with. They do not process black and white film themselves, they post them to England to be processed which depending on which day you drop your film in, it could take 10 days or so. They process colour film in an hour and sometimes even 40mins.

 

My favourite option of all is to home process my black and white film. It is a lot cheaper in the long run, absolutely faster and far more satisfying. You do not need a darkroom to do this. All you need is a bottle of developer (available from all three options above, approx. €5 for a small bottle), a darkroom/light proof bag (I got mine for about €30 in Gunns) If you have a light safe room then you don’t need the bag but I recommend it. A developing tank which can be bought in Gunns and online with thephotoshop.ie, approx. €30. You also need access to running water.

After processing your film- usually 10-15 mins, you hang it to dry for a few hours. After this you can scan your photos with a negative scanner, or bring them into Conns or Gunns and they can scan them for you.

 

If I want to have colour film developed I ask for only the negatives to be processed, then I scan them myself. This cost about €3 rather then €10. A negative scanner is a brilliant thing to have but you must invest in a good quality one, or your images will not turn out great. I hope to start learning to process my own colour film soon.

You can also buy film in most Boots stores in the battery section. You can also buy expired film in the basement of Lucys Lounge in Temple Bar for €3 a roll.

Polaroid vs 35mm

I often love comparing and contrasting different media with the same subject matter. It can completely change the narrative and the feel of the image. Recently I visited Epreskert (“Mulberry Garden”) near Andrássy Avenue in Budapest. I took two images, one with my Polaroid Impulse, using 600 film;

 

Epreskert by Polaroid 600

Epreskert by Polaroid 600

The second image was taken with my Mamiya 135AF, which I purchased in Budapest that morning. The Mamiya takes 35mm film and has auto focus. So both cameras lack control. Really all you have power over is the composition.

 

Mamiya

Epreskert by 35mm

I personally prefer the polaroid as it removes the context of the image. It could have been taken anywhere at any time. The colours are less true to real life, the Mamiya image is closer to the true colours. I bought the polaroid film for about €18, for 8 images, there for the image cost €2.25, the roll of 35mm film, Kodak Gold 200, cost €5.19 for 36 exposures, and €9 to get processed and printed, so 40 cent per image. The polaroid is €1.85 more expensive.

Thought behind 'Alamogordo'

In this post I am going to go through the thought process behind one of my prints entitled 'Alamogordo'. Alamogordo is a city in New Mexico in the United States. It was the test site for the first explosion of an atomic bomb in 1945. A month or two before I made the print I was watching an experimental documentary on Netflix called 'The Bomb'(2016). It is basically all the archival nuclear weapon footage put to music by The Acid. At maybe 26 minutes into the movie they show test footage with animals. It seems like they tethering animals at different radii from the test site. Although this whole segment was upsetting to watch, one image really stuck with me.

 

screen shot of 'The Bomb' (2016) at about 26mins

screen shot of 'The Bomb' (2016) at about 26mins

For days after I couldn't forget it so I decided to try something new. Usually if I want to forget something I don think about it but I had no choice with this. So instead of forgetting I lamented it onto my copper plate. To me it felt like this is the last thing I should do, but to my surprise it made me feel better. 

 

drawings from my note book

drawings from my note book

The process of copper plate printing is long and repetitive. I liked the juxtaposition of trying to forget something by seeing it again and again. I then got a second plate which was a little bigger then the first one and aquatinted a bomb cloud.

'Alamogordo' (2018) edition of 5

'Alamogordo' (2018) edition of 5