Photo by @gowanusdarkroom
An introduction to an article on developing film photos should be a great opportunity to mourn the death of film photography, of hand-processed pictures and the culture of non-digital cameras. That luddite battle flag need not be flown, however, because film, unlike video rental stores, lives on in Brooklyn. Sure, it’s not what it was a few decades ago, before the advent of cheap digital technology and camera phones which can take a more high def shot than plenty of old Leica equipment, but the number of darkrooms and brick and mortar shops offering photo-processing within the borough’s borders remains impressive, especially for 2017.
Per usual with Brooklyn, a microcosm of urban progressivism which allows for the existence of industries long dead elsewhere, a craft deemed donezo lives on here. The below local businesses offer a range of film-relevant options, from community dark rooms where you can process your own work to corporate chains where an anonymous process will turn your film into prints to local hole in the wall businesses (probably the most at risk spots on this list) which offer the same services as the chains but on a smaller scale, and with more memorably bizarre, vintage knickknacks for you to observe while you wait.
Bushwick Community Darkroom
110 Troutman St., Bushwick
If you’re looking not just to get a roll developed, but also a community, and you live in North Brooklyn, definitely hit this volunteer-based organization up. You can rent the darkroom (both color and B&W) by the hour, take classes, get a membership, or just drop off that roll and say hi.
119 8th St., Gowanus
For those of you photogs in southern Brooklyn, this is the most community-centric darkroom experience to be found in the area. In addition to 10 enlarger stations, a film processing area, color darkroom and multi-level analog classes, they also have some very nice printers.
Duane Reade has declared film dead. pic.twitter.com/MaDeunAQoo
— SAFDIE (@JOSH_BENNY) September 6, 2016
Now that we’ve named the most community-angled borough darkroom experiences, here are the least: Costco, CVS, Rite Aid and Walgreens all develop film. Be sure to double check your branch offers the service.
While it might not be quite as cheap as the chains, these local spots will also develop your film:
Kubus Photo Lab
102A Nassau Ave., Greenpoint
In addition to film developing, they also offer VHS to DVD conversions (!!!), passport photos, photo printing and photo restorations. AKA the works.
52 Court St., Brooklyn Heights
Also known as PhotoReal, this is a good old fashioned second story photo lab so well ingrained into the street you’d probably miss it if you didn’t know otherwise.
2215 Ave. U., Sheepshead Bay
Film photographers down in Sheepshead Bay don’t have too many nearby options, but Vivid Photo offers the works so who even needs the rest of Brooklyn anyway.
639 5th Ave., Park Slope
At least by today’s standards, there’s hardly a dearth of photo developers in the Park Slope area, but there used to be a whole lot more. Accurate Photo is now one of the last remaining options.
1166 Manhattan Ave., Greenpoint
You’ll want to bring your camera when you visit: the block DiJiFi is located on at the very end of Manhattan Ave. is quite photogenic.
164 Wallabout St., Williamsburg
Another spot with a geographical monopoly, Sunrise is right on the Bed-Stuy border and will develop and or print 35mm and APS films.
Nostrand Photo Lab
1435 Nostrand Ave., East Flatbush
More of a portrait studio than a film processor, but Nostrand Photo Lab will develop your rolls – although Yelpers, in all their spiteful glory, have some very strong and angry reviews you may want to read before you go.
Rainbow Photo Shop
1959 86th St., Bensonhurst
Some custies feel Rainbow Photo Shop’s caliber of film development has gone way down hill since, allegedly, new management took over, but if you’re in the area you don’t have too many options, so.
Did we miss one? Let us know in the comments!
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