If you follow Analogue Wonderland on their social media you will know they have been growing quickly lately. They’ve taken on a few new members of the team and have moved into bigger premises that will allow them to realise some exciting new goals. One of those goals being to build ‘Analogue WonderLAB’, a new sustainability-focused mini-lab!
I’ve been following Paul and Analogue Wonderland from day one. From the first time I spoke to Paul, I had a strong idea his company was going to go far. From the start, his aim has been to make film photography as fun and accessible to as many people as possible. To Paul, that means removing barriers to entry, and making the process of film photography as easy as possible. A big part of this has always been the goal to demystify film choice – the website isn’t just a shop, it’s a catalogue that contains user reviews and example of images taken with all the various films available.
Once he had this sorted, the next big step for him was to come up with a way to get more obscure film types into more people’s cameras. He knows the choice on his website is huge, so for those who had a desire to shoot a wider range of films, but didn’t know where to start, he introduced the Analogue WonderBox.
The next question he wanted to answer for people was a more direct one. His customers kept asking him, “can you develop the film I buy from you?”. The answer, for a long time was no, and there was a good reason for that. Paul, nor Mary, nor any of their other staff had the first clue how to run a mini-lab. But, the more they were asked the question, the more they wanted to have an answer… in Paul’s words, they just needed a lab “super-hero” to come and help them.
Enter Marina Llopis
If you don’t know who Marina Llopis is, then, well, you’ve been missing out. Marina’s background in photography started in Japan working for ‘IINO Media PRO’, a commercial studio based in Tokyo, she has since worked in labs in Mallorca and more recently Bristol. But more than for any of that, she is known for IFWEFILM, her work as a tutor, her blog and her Instagram where, with a lot of passion and a dose of humour, she educates and enlightens the world in the ways of film photography.
With her work in labs across the world, her experience educating people, her work within the community and her passion for analogue Marina was just the super-hero Paul was looking for… and somehow he’s managed to sweet talk her into upping sticks, moving to Oxfordshire and joining the AW team!
Marina’s job is going to be to help launch Analogue WonderLAB, and she has already brought a bit of genius by building on the idea to make the lab as sustainable as possible. The goal is to, in their words, “make the process as environmentally friendly as possible so that people know that the impact of their hobby on the wider world has been absolutely minimised.” This not only means implementing sustainable processes in house, but Marina also has goals to encourage and educate positive behaviour in their customers.
On top of this, Marina’s goals are to make Analogue WonderLAB “the most efficient lab in the world” so people get their results back quickly but also with 100% confidence in the results. They also want to “cultivate a hub of film photography for our local film photographers and blur the lines between commercial and home development, so that anyone can choose seamlessly between processing at home or dropping their films at our door”.
Paul tells me that there are “many strands to the work that need to happen before we open the doors of the WonderLAB in September – equipment, people, website, logistics and more – but we wanted to share the initial thinking and vision with the people who have supported Analogue Wonderland for so long!”
They are also asking for feedback on their ideas, what they are trying to achieve, and what you the potential users of the lab want to find as services when they open the doors. So if you would like to have a bit of input, you can drop Marina a line on [email protected] or comment below!
Analogue WonderLab will open in High Wycombe, Oxfordshire, where it will serve the locals community as the only lab in the area, as well as people will use the service from across the rest of the UK and maybe even beyond.