Come one, come all. Lomography has partners all over the world to help serve your analogue needs. If you're from Germany then it's your lucky day. We're featuring our Berlin-based stockist Alessandro and Chris of Safelight in today's installment of Lomography Partners.
Can you introduce yourself to the Lomography community?
Safelight Berlin is Alessandro Iotti and Chris Morgan. We both share a passion for analogue photography and we were having trouble finding places to buy cameras. We eventually came up with the idea to provide a safe place for people to purchase analogue cameras and accessories without having to resort to eBay and private sellers. We offer all you need for your beloved films to be developed, scanned, and printed, along with a range of cameras that have all been tested and working and a lot of cool merchandise!
What does analogue mean to you?
Time, patience, surprise, and sometimes pure magic. Sometimes even disappointment, but it's all in these moments, the fact that it is not perfect makes it even more interesting and exciting.
What does Lomography mean to you?
Keep film alive! True leaders/believers of this motto.
Why do you choose to work with Lomography?
Lomography has shown over the years to believe in the return of analogue photography, I would even say that they were the first (along with Impossible Project) to push for a return of the good old film. Moreover, the films they produce are an excellent alternative to Kodak and Fujifilm, especially for those who want to start but have a limited budget.
What is your favorite Lomography product and why?
Lomography Color Negative 800! Because even if the price has increased is still the cheapest 800 ISO film with really good yields.
Are you doing any creative projects right now in the store or personally? Please tell us more about them.
Our store is also designed to host photography exhibitions of talented photographers who may not have the right connections to exhibit in real galleries on the Berlin circuit. We are currently organizing a Grand Opening where we will show mainly our photos and those of our employees (almost all are professional photographers) with the sale of zines and prints numbered and signed.
What does the future of analogue photography look like to you? How will this impact your store in the next ten years?
Today it really seems that analogue photography is not only back but it is also something cool that attracts people of all ages and backgrounds. What worries us the most is the increase in prices in the last few years along with the scarce supply of stock, especially for affordable films.
What hardship did your shop/lab have to face during the lockdowns and what kept you going through these hard times?
In all honesty, the lockdown hasn't affected our business that much. Far from it, actually. Being mainly an online business, our orders have grown, especially when we started offering development, scanning, and printing by mail services.
What's the most annoying thing about running an analogue lab?
Customers ahahahah! Sometimes it's really difficult to let them understand that the good old one-hour photo does not exist anymore and that nowadays, to process an order takes time. Back in the '90s, there was no scan option. Digital was not yet a reality and so it was definitely faster to get the film developed and printed.
What's your favorite memory from the lab so far?
We totally agree that our fave moment was when we went to pick up our first developer machine and then we started to process our own stuff. It was a crazy moment—to be able to develop and scan film for us and our new customers.
What's the weirdest thing you have received when developing films?
Well... it's Berlin, the Sin City par excellence...
What would you do if you didn’t run a photo lab?
We'd probably still be working for some corporate or begging on street corners.
Official Name: Safelight Berlin
Began Accepting Film for Developing: 2019
Address: Schivelbeiner strasse 9 10439 Berlin, Germany
Services offered: 35 mm, 120, 4x5, C-41, b&w, E6, hand developing, printing, camera, and film sales
Film lab staff: 12
Want to see your favorite store featured in our magazine? Please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will check them out!