This fall we received the great honor of documenting our lab, Richard Photo Lab, for their new brand and website. We’ve been sending our film to RPL for the past 6 years and they are, in large part, the reason we shoot film to this day.
Are you kidding me?!? What lab still has a custom dark room?!?
I recently picked up the book Kitchen Confidential by renowned chef Anthony Bourdain. In reading, I was struck by how he hires his kitchen staff. He mentioned that he never hires a hot-shot aspiring chef to run his food line. Instead, he prefers hard working laborers who don’t call in sick every time they have a cold or drink too much the night before. The men and women running the food lines in Bourdain’s kitchens are tough, loyal and, most importantly, consistent.
While documenting the RPL team, I noticed how many of them fit Bourdain’s description of the perfect worker: men and women who have learned a technique and have devoted their life’s work to mastering that skill over their lifetime. They aren’t aspiring photographers, but instead they are master technicians who do one skill better than anyone in the industry. What’s most important though, is that they do it consistently.
I find great comfort that Sam and Cam (above) are the only ones who have developed all of A Bryan Photo’s film since we started using RPL. Actually, these guys have been developing all the film at RPL for the last 20 years. Sam and Cam are among the few who are still trained to ‘dip and dunk’. This superior processing technique, which insures consistent results on each roll of film, has been abandoned by most labs because of the cost and labor associated with it.
I find even more comfort that John (with me below) has been the only person to scan A Bryan Photo’s film. Having a consistent person who is in touch with my look and preferences is invaluable. I’m so thankful that a ‘hot shot aspiring’ photographer is not scanning my film. Photographers inevitably make awful technicians, present company included.
This attitude of consistency (there’s that word again!) extends to the lab’s front office where Brian, Bill, Angela, Cohen and company are always willing to help and make my life easier. They are quick to dialogue with me about all my film needs and offer assurance that the job will be done well.
As a studio, we’ve created a reputation of intentionality and consistency. Partnering with Richard Photo Lab insures that this mindset is upheld throughout every aspect of A Bryan Photo’s process. If you are looking to save a few bucks on each roll of film you shoot, there are numerous banana-stand labs out there who are cutting corners in order to save you some cash. But if the historical preservation of your subjects is of utmost importance, I recommend you give RPL a call. They would love to develop a relationship*.
Major props to Matchstic, who designed this rebrand and site.