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Photography: Buying New Film

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on September 18, 2015 in Photography |

We took a trip into Nienburg today, more to see what is on offer when it comes to household appliances than anything else, but also because free time should be used to do things, and neither one of us wanted to just sit around at home all day. It was an interesting experience, not just because we saw a few things we have planned to buy in the future, but also to see exactly what is on offer when I – since she doesn’t share my interest as much as I love it – decide to really go into photography. We don’t have a darkroom yet, another thing open for discussion, but the plans are there and, most certainly, enough cameras to make it more than worthwhile.

What is the point, I keep on telling her, of having so many cameras if you don’t use them? Fine, many of them will probably never be capable of taking a passable photograph any more; they are old and haven’t been cared for as much as I would wish. The point is, though, they are there and it is possible to find film for some of them if not all. You just need to look.

Foto Vision, Nienburg

Photo Source: Viktoria Michaelis

And so, after the rounds of washing machines, spin-dryers, irons and ironing boards, we went up to the high street shops. The first thing we had learned was that Media Markt – a discounter – accepts films for developing, but doesn’t sell any. Since they also don’t sell film cameras, only digital, this seems almost reasonable, although the saleswoman was very apologetic about it all.

I had already been to Foto Vision – and wrote about it quite a while ago. The photographic shop which claims (above) to represent the whole world of photography, but doesn’t sell any films. Digital is the way of the future: film photography is dead. I’d dispute that, along with many thousands of other people, but if that’s what they wish to believe, then let them. Just a shame that they claim to be the ‘whole world’ of photography, which clearly isn’t true.

We moved on the Photo Porst in the hope that they would live up to their name. There used to be three photographic shops in Nienburg, but there have also been a lot of closures recently – the wonderful antiques shop is a dusty memory now – and many shop fronts are empty, covered only with advertising posters for events in other towns. Here, in Porst, we had more luck; a selection of films were on display behind the main counter, and a pretty young woman waited upon our every (almost!) wish.

Photo Porst, Nienburg

Photo Source: Viktoria Michaelis

We asked for 120 film. I’ve plenty of 35 still, and want to try out the Seagull 4BI I bought at the flea market in Hasbergen recently. It’s clean and in good working order, so worth an attempt at least. Sadly, we were told, they only have 36.

Pause for thought, especially since I can see a box of five 120 films behind her. We point them out, and the fact that we’re not asking for a film with a certain number of exposures, but a film of a certain size. She isn’t sure, and glances over to a male co-worker at a nearby desk, who makes no move to help her. Still, the five pack of 120 in my hands, I can see what there is on offer. It isn’t what I want; I am planning on shooting a few black and white photographs first. We ask. She is lost.

Now the man stands up, hands us an Ilford XP2 400, and points out that it is a C41 process film. If I was developing my own films this would be a problem, but I am not. We buy three, and the young woman is almost in her element again. We only have to reject one 35 film which she packs with the other two – smaller size, same color packaging – and money changes hands. I have my films.

Of course, it would be wonderful if she had known what she was selling, but I guess digital and cell phones are more within her age group. That the salesman doesn’t explain to her the difference between a 36 and a 35 film – exposure number over film size – or that there is also a 120 available – telling her it can be either 12 or 16 exposures would probably have blown her mind – is a shame. But, learn by doing. Perhaps she’ll know what someone asks for next time they come in.

The advantages of the Internet. I know that I can buy exactly the right film through several websites, but I wanted to do something personal, in person, for a change. Why buy on the Internet when you can get out of the house and buy in person?

Love & Kisses, Viki.

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