My local options for processing black and white film, so far as I know them, are gone.
It can still be done, of course. Walk a roll of black and white film into Walgreens or Wal-Mart or Target and there’s a square right on the envelope identifying the contents as black and white film. It takes two weeks to process, and negatives will not be returned. Again – they keep the negatives. No. Not acceptable. Options here in this community were already gone, so I started taking them to the Columbia branch of a St. Louis area photo store. It closed a year ago. Next closest branch was an hour+ further down the road in Chesterfield. That was OK – gave me an excuse to take out the family. It closed six months ago. They were down to their ‘superstore’ over on Olive Blvd. Dropped a couple rolls off a couple weeks ago – they very kindly had it processed and returned to me via the U.S Postal Service, negatives and all. Two more days go by and the superstore closed too, a victim of the declining retail sector. So far as I can tell, the entirety of Mid-Missouri and metro St. Louis are without a photography store; wanna buy something go on-line.
Look, I don’t shoot much at all in film; maybe a half dozen rolls annually, and likely less. It’s a nostalgic act – film-based images give me fewer options as a photo artist. But it’s a nostalgic act I happen to enjoy.
Eventually I’ll get around to digging up a new provider – there’s GOT to be someplace that will handle this stuff within reasonable driving distance, and if there’s not one that satisfies me, anything can be had on-line. But for now, and for posts over the next couple weeks. I’m going to fixate on the place I started: black and white photography taken with my Dad’s 1960 Agfa fixed-lens rangefinder camera. A little mini festival of a fading technology.
All my life I have had to learn to do things differently. To see the world differently.