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Matinee: 'The Photo Parlour' Share This on LinkedIn   Tweet This   Forward This

26 June 2021

Saturday matinees long ago let us escape from the ordinary world to the island of the Swiss Family Robinson or the mutinous decks of the Bounty. Why not, we thought, escape the usual fare here with Saturday matinees of our favorite photography films?

So we're pleased to present the 402nd in our series of Saturday matinees today: The Photo Parlour.

In this 2:38 video, Daniel Wheeler introduces us to The Photo Parlour, an independent film lab, community darkroom, library, studio and gallery he runs in Nottingham, England.

It's the lab part that brings in the money. But mainly it's a labor of love.

Wheeler noticed photography was taking an expensive turn into electronics with digital imaging, forgetting film photographers. "So I set up The Photo Parlour to cater to those people who have kind of been forgotten by the photography industry."

He describes it as an open house for anyone interested in photography where there are no stupid questions and there's plenty of time available to play out any idea that pops into your head. He'll consult with you on that, too.

But the best part of his job, he says, is teaching someone how to make a black-and-white print. The moment they see the image come up in the tray is magical. He never gets tired of seeing that light bulb come on over and over again.

In Always Good Advice, we mentioned chatting with Eddie the Whirlpool dryer repairman as he tested our new machine. At one point he noticed the Gralab timer on our wall and asked if that was an antique clock.

Turns out Eddie's hobby is restoring old vacuum tube radios, replacing the impossible-to-find tubes with transistors. So he has an eye for old technology.

We always loved the big dial on that Gralab and spent a lot of time watching those hands smoothly run backwards. We couldn't bear to store it away, so we hung it on the wall and use it like a light switch (with an optional timer, of course) for old time's sake.

"Glows in the dark, too," we told him. He was impressed.

Many old things glow in the dark, it occurs to us. You merely have to open your eyes to appreciate them. Daniel Wheeler seems to be one of those guys with wide open eyes.

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