Analogue Wonderland launches a planet-friendly photography lab

analogue wonderland film strips
(Image credit: Analogue Wonderland)

If you’re a film photographer you’ve no doubt heard of Analogue Wonderland. It’s an online mecca for all kinds of film and now it is opening up its own, cleverly named processing lab – Analogue WonderLab.

The women-led lab based in High Wycombe, UK, will offer an online and walk-in service – so no matter where you live, you can get your best 35mm film rolls developed. Set up by film photographer and processing guru Marina Llopis, Analogue WonderLab will be one of few female-headed processing labs in Europe. 

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Analogue Wonderland has been in operation for three years, and it hopes that Marina's experience in labs across the world will help Analogue WonderLab to excel in three main areas: sustainability, organization and community. 

By using chemicals with the lowest toxicity levels, encouraging customers to send film to the lab in recycled boxes, and creating a system where film pots, 120 spools and disposable cameras can be returned to the production line, it hopes it will be able to offer a more planet-friendly service.

"What excites me most about the WonderLab isn’t just that we’ll be providing a great service for local film shooters from the start, but that this is just the beginning of a project to improve film photography’s environmental footprint forever," said Llopis.

Analogue WonderLab is adding an eco-friendly angle to the resurgent interest in film photography (Image credit: Future)

More ways that Llopis hopes that the lab can be more sustainable is by switching from using ammonium sulphate as a fixer to using sodium thiosulfate. She also wants to extend the life of the fixer by silver recovery, which means more than 100 films could be fixed without needed to discard the fixer and use recycled / biodegradable packaging wherever possible (with the exception of negative film sleeves).

Focusing on organization, in order to make WonderLab the most efficient minilab in the world, Marina and her team are working on a system that will eradicate process and logistical mistakes. In order to ensure all customers have a smooth experience from start to finish, Marina wants to make it easy to find the right service, purchase and process film at the same time, access tracking information and receive films and scans quickly. This involves building a new website, rearranging the warehouse, coming up with paperwork systems and finding a way to make it all link together.

Creating a lab space has always been a goal for co-founder Paul McKay but finding the right person to lead the project wasn’t easy. "We needed someone with the right experience and network to help, and now we can focus on helping push the lab industry forwards – sharing the challenges openly with our community and investing in research to make things better for future generations of film shooters." 

Finally, the WonderLab team wants to be involved with the Analogue Wonderland community by being available for advice or a chat as well as running competitions, giveaways and exhibitions. By sharing pictures and videos of behind-the-scenes in the lead up to the lab opening, they hope it will give customers an idea of how film will be handled and processed in the coming years. 

The Analogue WonderLab is now open for business and is able to process 35mm in color and black and white, 110mm and 120mm film in color and disposable cameras. For more information on pricing and turnaround times, head to the Analogue WonderLab tab on the Analogue Wonderland webpage. 

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Hannah Rooke
Staff Writer

Having studied Journalism and Public Relations at the University of the West of England Hannah developed a love for photography through a module on photojournalism. She specializes in Portrait, Fashion and lifestyle photography but has more recently branched out in the world of stylized product photography. For the last 3 years Hannah has worked at Wex Photo Video as a Senior Sales Assistant using her experience and knowledge of cameras to help people buy the equipment that is right for them. With 5 years experience working with studio lighting, Hannah has run many successful workshops teaching people how to use different lighting setups.