We dive deep into Melbourne’s film photography revival and spill the beans on the best spots to get your rolls developed.
There will always be a love for the early eras, the decades which perhaps we missed out on or that we look back on with pure nostalgia, craving what life used to be and look like. The vinyl revival is a classic example of our lust for previous decades, and as we raid the cupboard for mum and dad’s old records, we’re also digging around for their old film cameras.
If you’re like me, you grew up taking happy snaps on your Kodak disposable camera. Running around the playground taking pics of you and your friends doing stupid things, then waiting for the photos to be developed, printed and then picked up from your local drug store.
There would be pics with fingers obstructing the lens or throwaway shots that succumbed to the very tomfoolery that drove you to pick up the camera in the first place.
Stay up to date with what’s happening in Melbourne here.
Then, with the evolution of the camera industry we quickly forgot about developing film and focused on the selfie, taking thousands upon thousands of photos before we got one just right – no errant fingers in sight.
However, over recent time you may have noticed a recent surge in film photography. It feels like there are film processing labs popping up everywhere, and even more people pointing a 35mm camera at their food or shooting their local house party.
So what has brought on this sudden interest in film again? And is it just a point and shoot arrangement, or are we craving a deeper connection to the art of photography?
For local photographer Tom Lewis, there’s a specialty to film photography that sets it apart.
“I like to shoot on film because it keeps you honest and places extra emphasis on setting up a shot or scene. Having a limited number of shots really pushes you to make the most of each frame,” he says.
Influences such as YouTube and other online platforms have also contributed to the medium.
“For me watching film photography YouTubers like Willem Verbeeck and Negative Feedback have done such a cool job of making film accessible for everyone. It’s exciting to see them talk about different cameras and using them in different settings with examples as well as showing that you don’t need the most expensive gear to create cool photos.” Lewis continues.
Let’s be honest, in a world where everything is instant it’s nice to slow down and wait for your film to be developed. There is something to be said about taking the time and connecting with the process of loading film into a camera, relying on your own intuition and skills when choosing the settings, and not knowing whether your exposures will be correct until you develop your film. It’s more about trusting yourself, rather than relying on a computer chip.
Melbourne’s film photography boom wouldn’t be possible without the film supply stores to develop the pics. So, where are some of the best spots in Melbourne for you to get your film developed?
Work In Process
Not only can you buy and develop film at Work In Process, they also have their own darkroom which you can rent to develop colour and black and white film, while they also offer workshops on how to develop film in a darkroom.
348 Brunswick St, Fitzroy. More info here.
Located in the CBD, FilmNeverDie have several different drop box locations and vending machines stocked with film and disposable cameras. Their mission is to preserve, nurture and grow the film shooting community by getting as many people involved as possible.
6 Watertank Way, Melbourne CBD. Get around ’em here.
An unassuming hole in the wall, lit up by a neon ‘H’, Hillvale processes and sells 35mm and medium-format film. They have also recently made recycled ‘disposable’ cameras – great for those fun party shots, while they also have drop off locations all around the city.
16 Black St, Brunswick. Check ’em out here.
View this post on Instagram
Not only do they stock a variety of film, Ikigai Camera also provide high quality printing, using state of the art machines. They’ve also got drop boxes available in North Melbourne as well as Sydney and Canberra interstate.
62 Albemarle St, Williamstown North. More here.
Shop here for your film and cameras at the same time. A small shop with great personality, Halide also offers drop offs and plenty of character to boot.
24 Peel St, Collingwood. Get involved here.
Keeping up with the continues change in photography, Prism focus on high quality printing and framing, as well as developing film. They also support local artists through their Collective Online Gallery, where you can purchase emerging artists’ work.
504 Abbotsford St, North Melbourne. Check ’em out here.
View this post on Instagram
Stocked with all your film and digital supplies, Vanbar has got lenses, cameras, lighting and everything in-between. Established in 1980, there’s a bit of history behind these guys so you just know their gonna give you a supremo service.
450 Gore St, Fitzroy. Find out more.
Providing a large array of services, CPL process film, scan images, restore old images and make albums. First established in 1968, you can trust they know all the ins and outs of processing film.
117 Thistlewaite St, South Melbourne. Find out more here.
Walkens House of Film
This place is jam packed with a huge variety of film. From Kodak Portra to Polaroid, they’ve got you covered. They also stock a great variety of cameras from beginners to the more advanced, with a lab and 24-hour drop box also available.
101 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy. Check ’em out here.
Keen on another fun read? Check out our piece exploring the DIY nature of Melbourne’s thriving underground music scene.