Come one, come all. Lomography has partners all over the world to help serve your analogue needs. If you're from France then it's your lucky day! We're featuring our Nantes-based stockist L'Atelier Argentique in today's installment of Lomography Partners.
Can you introduce yourself to the Lomography community?
We are a film development and silver enlarger printing laboratory and we specialize in enlarged prints. We also do it in black-and-white and in color. For us, the print is the result of a collaboration with the photographer. We always take the time to discuss their intention behind the photograph and advise them on the choice of paper that is the most suitable for the rendering.
We also have a coffee shop/gallery. It is a friendly space where we host some film exhibitions. You can take a break there and enjoy our small photo library corner. We also organize workshops regularly with topics on printing and alternative printing processes. We feel that it's important to share our knowledge and educate others who are interested in printing.
What does analogue mean to you?
When we hold a photo laboratory exclusively dedicated to analogue, you can just imagine that this word has a special place in our hearts. For us, analogue is all about the aesthetics of the grain, which particularly touches us. We also look at it as the way we approach photography, the expectation that follows, the development of the film, the contact sheet, and the print. It is also a medium that allows us to experiment with experiences—from the very first time we feel in the moment to the time we capture it on on film.
What does Lomography mean to you?
For us, Lomography is associated with the spirit of experimentation and exciting types of films.
Why do you choose to work with Lomography?
We work with Lomography because they have films that are out of the ordinary. This allows us to expand our film range and offer our customers a varied selection of analogue aesthetics.
What is your favorite Lomography product and why?
We like the Metropolis because the colorful range allows us to step out of the ordinary and comfort zone. It does these things while still keeping a balance that we can work with. It gives frames a melancholy look that is really cool with some subjects.
Are you doing any creative projects right now in the store or personally? Please tell us more about them.
Every two months we organize exhibitions dedicated to the different analogue processes. Actually, the plan for the whole year will soon be completed. We are also preparing a photo marathon, a call for a collective exhibition at the end of the year, and an exhibition in collaboration with a brand new multi-disciplinary festival from Nantes. There are also several ideas in the works and we hope to go through with them quickly. It's going to be quite a busy year.
What does the future of analogue photography look like to you? How will this impact your store in the next ten years?
This renewed interest in film is on a gentle slope and luckily it has continued for several years now. It's like film is following the path of the vinyl record. Not everyone will get back to it, that's for sure, but a new generation of grain lovers is growing up and finding their passion for it. It's a difficult question, honestly, but we feel that film will last and we will make sure to contribute to it the best way we can.
What hardship did your shop/lab have to face during the lockdowns and what kept you going through these hard times?
Lockdowns have been tricky times with not a whole lot to work with production-wise. But we have set up a click and collect system to continue developing and processing orders from our customers. We were already working by correspondence but grew during those times and we received films from all over France.
The positive thing that happened to us was that during the lockdowns, a lot of people searched the attics and took out the cameras of their grandparents, and started playing around with them. By the time the orders started picking up, we already had many customers who came to have their first film rolls developed and they continued shooting with film not long after!
What's the most annoying thing about running an analogue lab?
We hate it when the second-hand machines we have often break down.
What's your favorite memory from the lab so far?
Can't forget our first anniversary as a lab.
Official Name: L'Atelier Argentique
Began Accepting Film for Developing: September 2019
Address: 19 Chau. de la Madeleine, 44000 Nantes, France
Services offered: 35 mm, 120, 4x5, C41, B&W, E6, hand-developed, B&W reversal
Film lab staff: 3
If you're in the area, join our LomoWalk Metropolis Nantes event in collaboration with L'Atelier Argentique and Capteur Argentique to try out the LomoChrome Metropolis film in medium format this Saturday 19th March.
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!