looking for a job working with film

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the APUG Community' started by carmenloofah, May 29, 2008.

  1. carmenloofah

    carmenloofah Member

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    Hello

    I live and work in London and have been studying at London College of Communication as a mature study and career changer. I am only interested in film photography and I would like to find a job as an assistant or in the darkroom/lab. Can anyone give me some advice or pointers on how to find work experience as everywhere I have looked so far expect digital skills. I work Tues to Fri in an office job and I am free on Mondays when my course ends in June to use for work experience, paid or unpaid. I am particulary interested in art and reportgage photography, historical printing techniques and lith printing. I am a glutten for knowledge and a very hard worker. Thanks in advance for any advice or contacts...
     
  2. Pinholemaster

    Pinholemaster Member

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    You'll need to ask around studios, and drop in on Museums that have wet darkrooms. There should be a few specialty darkrooms still providing these services. Most large photo services providers are mostly digital now, but there should still be a few who provide film development and printing along with their digital capabilities. Your professors should be the first people you ask for guidance.
     
  3. carmenloofah

    carmenloofah Member

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    thank you, I had not considered the museums
     
  4. Mike Crawford

    Mike Crawford Member

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  5. carmenloofah

    carmenloofah Member

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    many thanks Mike, that's one museum I would not have thought of!
     
  6. Kino

    Kino Member

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    Don't forget the cine labs in London! Not exactly the same as still photos, but it gives you valuable experience in film to film copying and concepts of maintaining the gamma chain through production; a good experience regardless of where you want to go!

    http://www.filmlondon.org.uk/content.asp?CategoryID=925

    One nice thing is, if you work there, you will handle a LOT of film, thousands of feet a day.

    If you have a hesitancy about handling film, you'll loose it very quickly.
     
  7. bowzart

    bowzart Member

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    I wonder whether skills in the darkroom will be better remunerated now that the commercial world has gone digital.

    When I started working in labs in the late 1960's, the money wasn't too bad. I stopped working as a printer in '71, went back to school, and then in '73 came back into the field of necessity. I then found that automation had eliminated many of the better jobs, and because there were so many qualified workers, there was a terrible decline in both the working conditions and the pay.

    Again, it seems that work with film and real paper may be a specialty field, and since the herd has moved on, there may be a recovery for those individuals still interested in doing that work.

    Anyone else have thoughts of information about this?
     
  8. carmenloofah

    carmenloofah Member

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    yes I agree and I am very keen to learn from the experts remaining....I do think these skills will be very much in demand over the next few years.....I have looked at printing courses and I do not see one for traditional darkroom training with film and would also prefer to learn from the bottom up in the darkroom....
     
  9. carmenloofah

    carmenloofah Member

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    thank you Kino....I can only imagine the level of competition even to work for free...it's oh so difficult to get experience....
     
  10. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

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    Welcome to the group, Carmen. I wish you well in your search. Good luck.
     
  11. yellowcat

    yellowcat Member

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    The sad fact is that most labs have either gone digital or gone bust, this means that there a lot of experienced people out there.
    Your best chance may be companies/organizations that have picture libraries, especially those whose pictures are likely to be large format.
    When I worked as a printer we did some work for Rolls Royce(Bristol), it could be worth calling them, they had an extensive archive.
    With the way things are moving I suspect that any work with photo libraries now would be transferring the images to digital.
     
  12. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    My lab has not completely fell into that void.
    Though we still process film and hand print there is only enough of that work for a very few workers.
    The bulk of commercial projects, in fact any projects have a digital element. Without this equipment we would have closed as well , or let me put it differently I would not have any rented square footage in downtown Toronto and I would have absolutely no staff.

    2002 was a critical year, where I made the decision to reinvest into digital gear. It was the right decision for Elevator and we have grown and kept people employed.
    But on the other hand , with the world flattening with the internet and forums such like this I could have not invested, moved to my dream farm and continued in traditional printing and made a decent living for my wife and I. She processes film for Elevator , I print up to murals and we both know how to mount prints and frame to very large sizes..



    So to the Original Poster here is my two cents on the subject. If you want to be a printer.

    the time is ripe, you have no competition,
    Equipment is cheap, you are in a major international hub.
    rent a small space, start up a small hand line, printing and small frame shop, if you are any good, if you have inner strength and a good personality , clients will come, one at a time, referal after referal. What is needed as a good printer is the ability to listen and try to give your client what they want.

    If you see my site I print mostly by the hour on my clients paper. This is exactly what my wife and I will do when I retire, move to the farm and print for those still wanting my craft. I am a betting man and I believe I will be doing this until the day I die.
    I am totally convinced that in each major hub worldwide there is room for this service, I know Mr Frizza in Austrailia is trying this out, I am not aware of any younger printers renting workable space in my area but they would do well , there definately still room for hand crafted prints with care.

    Regarding the experience level.. I did not have any one teacher spell out wonderment of fiber printing, it started the first time I saw an image emerge. You can stand all day long and watch someone expose on the enlarger , but unfortunately for me it all came by practice, practice, practice.

    tip one... make sure you can mount frame what you produce.100% added income.
    tip two.... manually or rotary process non replenish film
    tip three.. get a good archival washer
    tip four.. print some shows that go on walls where photographers will see.
    tip fourA.. do this at cost if it needs to be*people will see your work and want to know who the printer is**
    tip five.. get a good internet presence
    tip six.. make sure your shop is ground floor and not above anyone*floods*
    tip seven.. work seven days a week
    tip eight .. stand up for yourself and any workers with arrogant clients.
    tip nine.. be a good listener and make extra prints,, up down density,contrast
    tip ten.. dodge burn every image you make in your career
    tip eleven.. learn split contrast printing
    tip twelve.. pay your bills first
    tip thirteen.. pay your taxes second
    tip fourteen.. pay yourself
    tip fifteen.. go to as many shows to see your competition
    tip sixteen.. do not have live on credit cards
    tip seventeen.. pay all debts
    tip eighteen.. establish good credit with good suppliers and be faithful to them.
    tip ninteen.. always redo work even if you thing you are right.
    tip twenty... work hard and at a consistant level each day.

    good luck
    Bob




     
  13. wildbill

    wildbill Member

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    Bob, well put!
     
  14. Stephen Frizza

    Stephen Frizza Member

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    bravo

    Bob as you know I own the Lighthouse Lab in Sydney australia, a small analog pro lab. Your tips for buisness couldn't be more spot on. i launched a small buisness in exactly the way you mention and im reaping huge benefits from it. The market is totally in favor of small lab techs.

    ~Steve

     
  15. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    You know what I discovered in my little town, that was quite surprising to me? A lot of people want to learn traditional darkroom techniques and perhaps also digital hybrid stuff with trad'l output. I listed a minicourse at my university and -bam!- 30 students tried to get in, the course was literally into a waitlist 3 minutes after listing. Now I am setting up some private summer workshops and even with the university students out of town I am getting plenty of interest. If you are able to teach trad'l methods and have a darkroom, I would imagine in a city as large as London, you will find many eager students.

    Just a way to make some bucks on the side whilst also building a resume...
     
  16. carmenloofah

    carmenloofah Member

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    thank you everyone for some invaluable advice...it's been printed!
     
  17. RobC

    RobC Member

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  18. carmenloofah

    carmenloofah Member

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    you folk with years of experience and skills to share should link up and offer a world tour of trad darkrooms work experience! I am also looking to study abroad.....it's all very encouraging....