New photo gallery for Seoul

I’ve added a new page of pictures from Seoul yesterday, as I finally had another roll of film developed last week. It is possible there are still one or two rolls missing from that trip because I still have around 5 undeveloped rolls at home, but I’m not sure when I’ll be able to get these done. Until then, enjoy the scans from the day trip to Gangnam, Insadong and the pit stop at the cat cafe!

A paper tiger can't tell you where he stands - Spoon


The misery of moving away from your favourite photo lab

I have recently changed countries of residence (I explained why here), and that was already difficult. Not just because you leave favourite humans behind, but also because you have certain places you loved in your old place that you won’t have in your new location. Costa Coffee on my way to work, for example, or the Liverpool Central Library, are some of the many places I miss about Liverpool.


But what I miss the most is my trusted photo lab. The ladies from Moorfields Photographic, especially. They are lovely, had so much patience with me during my early days, and they somehow knew exactly what I wanted, and they gave it to me for a very reasonable price.

Now I live in the middle of nowhere, and I had to go to a drug store to hand in two of my rolls. The drug store itself (DM in this case) is usually my go-to-place for everything else, but after getting my first films developed there I will probably not use them again for photos. Here’s why:

A) It took F O R E V E R to be sent to the main depot, developed in the ‘lab factory’ that all the drug stores use, and then sent back to the store. As the store is too far away for me to go there every day to check whether or not my prints are ready it took a total of 9 working days to get my photos developed. My old lab took 2 – 3 days and usually called me when they were ready as well. For Free.

B) The price was, thanks to added delivery charges, extortionate. Two rolls of film plus the photos stored on a CD were almost €35, whereas my old lab would usually charge around £20 (around €23 today) for this.

C) You’re likely not going to what you want. I put a big cross in the box that says I want a luster finish, and somehow the prints were still delivered glossy. What’s the use of this tick box if it is being ignored? Maybe I’m too picky here because the prints still look nice, but…what am I paying for here? My ladies from MP always knew exactly how I liked my prints, and when there were any issues they would give me a quick call to ask me what I wanted to do. You just won’t get that from a big conveyor-belt drug store lab.

Living in the middle of nowhere I’m expecting my search for a new lab to take a while longer, but I’m willing to put the work into the research. There is nothing worse than not being able to trust the people who develop your exposed rolls of film. It’s like giving your babies away to childcare for the first time (yes I know this sounds a bit overdrawn, but it’s true. Rolls of films are precious, sweet little babies and I won’t hand them over to just anyone.). This is what I am planning on making the world map of film labs for by the way! IF YOU HAVE A SMALL, LOCAL LAB THAT YOU TRUST YOUR FILM ROLL BABIES WITH, LET ME KNOW AND I WILL INCLUDE THEM IN THE MAP.

The case for not developing your film straight away

For an analog photographer there is probably no better and more exciting feeling than getting film developed and finally seeing the end result of their hard work and/or happy accidents captured on film. It’s easy to get overly excited and impatient to see pictures printed, like a child before Christmas waiting to open its presents. And there is nothing wrong with having your rolls of film developed straight away, sometimes it’s needed due to projects and commissioned work where the photographer needs to stay within a deadline.


But from recent experience putting your full rolls of film away for a while, safely stored somewhere out of reach, and then developed months later, can be equally as satisfying an experience.

I went on a two-week trip to the States last April. My first stop was San Francisco, a city I had already been to before and was already helplessly in love with, and my other stop was Seattle, a city I knew I was going to love due to its close proximity to both mountains and open water and its solid place in music history, giving life to some of my favourite bands. Obviously, I came prepared with shitloads of film and 3 analog cameras. When I came home I had too many full rolls of film in my suitcase and not enough money to develop them all at the same time. On the one hand, I wish I would have had a way of developing some of the films while still on the road (I have a solution for this – WATCH THIS SPACE) on the other hand I am glad I had to put some of the rolls away for a later date.


Yesterday I got 3 developed films back from my trusted photo store (Moorfields Photographic in Liverpool). When I left them at the store I wasn’t entirely sure anymore what was on them or where I shot them, I was fairly certain though it would mostly be photos from my trip to the States, but I am dangerously unorganised when it comes to labelling films and taking notes so I usually just throw my full rolls of film in whatever handbag I’m currently carrying around, without taking notes of what I shot and which camera I used on this film, so it could have been a number of different projects.

When I looked at the pictures I got back yesterday I almost squealed with excitement and joy, simply because I got pictures back I didn’t remember taking and they came out so much better than I expected, probably because I had no clue what to expect. It was like a little surprise, a hidden happy memory my past self left for my present self. The only way to somehow describe this, however insufficiently, is delayed gratification.

You should try it for yourself! And then, by all means, send me a link to the pictures your present self will leave for your future self.


The pandora’s box of analog cameras: The Holga

After first meeting my friend Kate, who never came to work without at least one analog camera in her bag and was subsequently titled by myself as the “crazy camera lady”, I was soon infected with her crazy camera lady bug. While she was maneuvering her so-called “Russian Tanks” I had not used an analog camera since the mid-90s and would have been absolutely lost with a Zenit or Praktica with all their knobs and noobsies.


My gateway drug.

Along came the Holga. THE Holga. Lomography’s now “outdated” wonder weapon for anyone trying to achieve the retro look of film photography. In my attempt to follow Kate’s footsteps I found a purple Holga online. Anyone who knows me knows I am a sucker for all things purple so there was no chance for me to click past this. Reading reviews and watching YouTube videos for around a week I was quickly sold; this camera looked so easy to handle even my clumsy self should have been able to use it. I bought it, it got delivered, and I was right. I was able to point and shoot and pretty soon got some decent results. Without a lot of studying of the apertures and ISO speeds and all such.


And that is the whole point of the Holga. It is the gateway drug of analog cameras, hooking you with its simple handling and pretty pictures and at some point leaving you wanting more. It will give you the confidence to believe in yourself and the feeling of being capable.

The Holga is a wonderful little thing for travelling too. It is so incredibly lightweight it can go in the smallest little hand luggage and you won’t even notice its there. If you need it short notice you won’t have to set it up for long before you can point and shoot.