Here’s a helpful (and kind of surprising) tip for all Lomographers in small-town America searching for photolabs and cheap, convenient, reliable processing for their 120 film!
Right now, I live in a small Texas town…with a noticeable absence of darkrooms and photolabs. Imagine my sadness when I found I’d have to drive more than an hour to get to the nearest professional photolab to develop my 120 film. If this is a pain you know too well, don’t fear! Calling all Texans and Non-Texans! If you live in a small town, your days of stockpiling huge amounts of film until you’re driving to “the big city” are over!
It may not sound fancy, but here’s a diamond in the rough: your local Wal-Mart, believe it or not! They ship all their film out to a regional Fuji Film lab for processing and the Fuji experts definitely know what they’re doing with any kind of film. The negatives come back in great condition, the prints are clear, but not “too perfect” and the prints come back the right (square) size. Best of all, the processing AND prints only cost about 2 dollars. You can also use their in-store photo scanners to create electronic files of your prints. It’s a convenient one-stop shop and I love surprising fellow small-town Lomographers with this helpful tip!
The only downside is you may have to wait up to two weeks to get your prints back. I still think it’s preferable to planning a road trip every time I want to see my new pictures, though. Plus, I usually get to have fun conversations with the Wal-Mart employees who have never seen medium format films before. (One more helpful piece of advice: write special instructions in the space provided on the film drop-off envelope. I usually write something like “120 film, 1 set of prints for each image.”)
Hope that helps! Have fun, take pictures, and don’t feel limited just because you don’t live in a big city!! Spread the creativity and share your pictures!