Kelsey Hopkins, 24, has never owned digital camera (aside from her smart phone) and doesn’t know if she’ll ever want one because her heart is with film – the analogue kind.
After managing a film lab in Sydney for several years, the opportunity to open her own lab in the heart of Wollongong arose around two months ago.
“I thought ‘the worst thing is that it doesn’t work out and I sell all the stuff’,” Miss Hopkins said.
Two weeks in and business is booming for the Lovely Film Lab above Music Farmers record store, with Miss Hopkins flat-out to keep up with the growing demand.
“I haven’t really advertised, I just made an Instagram page and through word-of-mouth it’s just exploded,” she said. “I have had people brought me 10 or 15 rolls as they’ve had it sitting there because they didn’t want to process it in Sydney.”
Not all services – such as prints – are up and running yet, but clients can drop off film in person or post it in to be developed and scanned.
Miss Hopkins takes different types of films and can scan in basic or high resolution, or reflective scans; while she will apply colour correction if needed.
At the moment everything is hand-processed, with a lot of emphasis on the quality of the scans and how the negatives are handled – something Miss Hopkins said is hard to find.
“I think there’s always been people shooting [with film] but the biggest thing is the quality of the lab and how they’re run has changed and kind of dissipated,” she said.
“I’m hoping I can encourage more people to shoot film.”
A resurgence in analogue media – including vinyl and cassettes – is possibly due to the thought processes behind them in today’s hectic world, she said.
“Film really makes you slow down and think about [what you’re doing],” Miss Hopkins said. “I think it’s the slowing down thing instead of trying to keep up with the latest trends; and film looks beautiful.”
In coming weeks she will also get a one-hour processing machine to cut down processing times and keep up with demand.
Eventually Miss Hopkins wants to host photography classes and also teach people how to use a dark room.
“The community around film photography is one of the most authentic and sharing communities I’ve ever been a part of,” she said.
“[The film lab] is really a natural fit – like, I love it and I’m able to do it for myself as well; it’s as though we’re best friends.”
Film can be dropped off from Monday to Thursday, 10am to 6pm, at the box inside Music Farmers on Keira Street. More drop-off locations will be available in the future.
For a full list of services visit: www.lovelyfilmlab.com