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PHOTOTECHNICA bad experience

Hi everyone..

just to tell my really bad experience processing my b&w work in a “good” reputation lab in NY.
LAst winter i went to NYC to shot a documentary feature and decide to get all my b&w negatives (ilford hp5, delta 100 and pan f plus with me to be develop on a good quality lab in this city.. after some questions I decide trust on BRIAN YOUNG with his lab PHOTOTECHNICA.
I give him plenty of time to do the job, around a couple of weeks, because I was full schedule and was not in NYC in that time.. After back to the city, and one day before the dead line, I’d call Brian to asking about my rolls.. The first reaction was to tell me that he didn’t do the job by the time, but if I call again the day after he could have all done.
I called the next day, but by my surprise he asking me if my light meter was working bad, because some rolls was underexposed.
Long story short, when I went to his lab in Long Island City and I’d check my negatives, all the PAN F PLUS, had almost no images on them, no because an underexposed frames, but because under develop rolls.. The control strips in the negatives have almost no density.. He couldn’t give any reason . but I assume that he in the rush, put all the rolls in the same can and develop with the same time..

Nothing to do .. nothing in my negatives… NO reputation, no ICP teaching experience, no laboratory apparent quality matters..

Brian Young from PHOTOTECHNICA, put in the trash can the work of 6 months ..

After that, He told me that the only thing to do is share the cost of develop.. the bad ones.. nothing else.. I paid.. and leave the place.. I’m still trying to remember the frames that I’d shot..


by Rodrigo Llano at 2008-08-05 16:07:03 UTC (ed. Aug 6 2008 ) Santiago , Chile | Bookmark | | Report spam→

Hmmm, interesting. Last time I talked with some of their clients, zero complaints. Brian in particular? Nothing but praise.

“The control strips in the negatives have almost no density…” How are the edge markings? Frame numbers there? If not, THEN think about MAYBE blaming the lab, not before. Even then, rare as it is, seen edge markings that were severely underexposed at the factory, a whole number of times, on all sorts of film stocks.

In any case, next time, instead of trusting ANY lab with half a year’s worth of your imaging life, consider processing it yourself. In NYC, rent a darkroom at Photographics Unlimited, for example.

If you don’t know how to process your own, learn. Meanwhile, give the lab only a couple of stupid test rolls, before trusting them with only a small part of your entire precious mother load, at any given time.

by Stupid Photographer | 05 Aug 2008 16:08 (ed. Aug 5 2008) | Holy Smokes, Holy See | | Report spam→

i am amazed that you were as patient and as calm as you suggest you were at the news of this disaster. i can well understand your anger and frustration and disappointment. and thank you for sharing your experiences here. perhaps brian young himself will add a few more details about what could have happened!

it remains one of my personal nightmares; that the day you are handed back your processed rolls you are told that there was nothing on them! i loose sleep each and every time after an assignment once the film has been dropped off at the lab. those are the toughest 48-72 hours for me. and luckily i have not had the disaster you have had to face.

though i have not used a lot of labs in new york, lexington b&w have been very professional and very good with my work. no complaints, reasonable turnaround time, fine negatives.

otherwise many others on lightstalkers have much more experience with NYC labs and can help you the next time you need to drop off a large set of film for process.

good luck with all – ICP, teaching and projects


by [former member] | 05 Aug 2008 18:08 | stockholm, Sweden | | Report spam→
I have known Brian for over 10 years and consider him a good friend, he was my teacher at ICP and has often stayed with me in Mexico City when teaching workshops here. He is an outstanding printer, and I have never known anyone to question his professionalism and strongly disapprove of his being slandered so publicly in this manner after one person’s experience, regardless of whose fault it was. He has printed for Magnum photographers, is Gene Richards printer as well as many others. He is the default go-to guy for all high-end B&W processing and printing in NY. I understand your frustration and have no reason to doubt you but there is always an inherent risk in processing by hand no matter how much experience one has and I would be careful of ruining a hard earned reputation formed over decades after one bad experience.

by adam wiseman | 05 Aug 2008 19:08 (ed. Aug 5 2008) | Mexico DF, Mexico | | Report spam→
Next time do have only one film developped.

Check, and see for others.

Otherwise :

For capital work, for film do trust only your own processing.

I do this with 2 Eight rolls Paterson Tanks. 16 films in a morning session.

by Daniel Legendre | 05 Aug 2008 19:08 | Paris, France | | Report spam→
If you double reel in metal tanks with metal reels – two rolls, back to back, on each reel – you can do 16 rolls in an 8 reel tank, like Eugene Smith says in Volume 1, page 145 of “Darkroom” (Lustrum Press 1977; ISBN: Cloth 0-912810-20-3; Paper 0-912810-19-x):

“Once in the darkroom, to cut down on time I’ll often develop two rolls of film on each reel. This turns a four reel tank into an eight reeler.” Four close-ups of Gene’s hands with instructions on double reeling follow…

Don’t try it with 120. Unlike 35, two double reeled 120 rolls WILL stick together, spelling stupid trash for both.

by Stupid Photographer | 05 Aug 2008 20:08 (ed. Aug 5 2008) | Holy Smokes, Holy See | | Report spam→
Whenever in doubt…Have the lab (or you) do a “clip test” from the front of roll one of a job. If you don’t want to lose possible good shots just shoot 6 frames of nonsense, then maybe 4 or 5 blanks, and then start the job.Develop the nonsense “clip” to see if processing is OK. This way you won’t sacrifice the entire roll. Make sense?

by Gregory Sharko | 05 Aug 2008 20:08 | Brooklyn, New York, United States | | Report spam→
Rodrigo…Adding this post to the “Alerts” section seems a bit over the top. Not necessary.

by Gregory Sharko | 05 Aug 2008 21:08 | Brooklyn, New York, United States | | Report spam→
Brian Young is a Master Printer Gelatin Silver. He is the owner of Phototechnica which has specialized in fine art book printing, exhibition printing and commercial repro since 1992.

He has produced exhibitions for Hasselblad Museum, Stockholm; The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington; Le Centre National de la Photo, Paris; The Historical Museum of New York; The International Center of Photography, New York; Moving Walls, Open Society Institute, New York; The Mass. College of Art, Boston among others.

He has produced book prints for EUGENE RICHARDS: Below the Line: Living Poor in America, Dorchester Days (Reprint), Cocaine True Cocaine Blue, Americans We, Stepping Through The Ashes and Fat Baby. LARRY TOWELL: The Mennonites, Then Palestine. JOSEPH RODRIGUEZ; East Side Stories, Gang Life in East LA, Juvenile. ERICH HARTMANN: In The Camps, Where I was, MERRY ALPERN: Dirty Windows. CHIEN CHI CHANG: I do, I do, I do. BASTIENNE SCHMIDT: Viva La Meurte; Death Rituals in Latin America. JAMES NACHTWEY: Inferno. ASSOCIATED PRESS: Flash: AP Covers the World. MEL ROSENTHAL; In The South Bronx of America.

From: http://www.phototechnica.net/main.htm

by Stupid Photographer | 05 Aug 2008 23:08 | Holy Smokes, Holy See | | Report spam→
When i said that the control strip have almost no density is because that is a graphical reference to said that the negative is almost transparent.. but the issue is not a bad developing process or not.. is the attitude of Brian.. He knows perfectly that was under develop but at the first time he try to hide this asking about my light meter.,. That is not professional.. that is the important point.
Shits happen, but please don’t try to put your shit over me for free

by Rodrigo Llano | 06 Aug 2008 01:08 (ed. Aug 6 2008) | Santiago, Chile | | Report spam→
Is it not possible that he asked you about the meter because he was simply trying to eliminate everything that did not go wrong, in order to figure out exactly what did go stupidly bad?

I mean, many variables can lead to thin film. Operator error. Meter error. Lens error. Shutter error. ISO detection error. Old film. Old developer. Over diluted developer. Accidental underdevelopment. Overfixing. To name a few. If the end result is bad news, helps to figure out exactly why. Is it not possible that is precisely what Brian was doing?

by Stupid Photographer | 06 Aug 2008 01:08 (ed. Aug 6 2008) | Holy Smokes, Holy See | | Report spam→
I always process my own B/W film. You don’t always need a darkroom as a changing bag will suffice. If you don’t know how to it is so easy to learn – there’s plenty of books and the internet out there – and so much more fun.
Mistakes do happen, but in that instance you can always blame yourself so that you never end-up asking “If only!”

Best wishes, Paul.

by Paul Clements | 06 Aug 2008 08:08 | London, United Kingdom | | Report spam→

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Rodrigo Llano, Cinematographer/stills Rodrigo Llano
Belo Horizonte , Brazil ( CNF )
Stupid Photographer, Dazed, shocked, stupefied Stupid Photographer
Dazed, shocked, stupefied
(Stupid Photographers Agency)
Holy Smokes , Holy See
adam wiseman, photographer adam wiseman
Mexico Df , Mexico
Daniel Legendre, Photographer Daniel Legendre
Paris , France
Gregory Sharko, photographer Gregory Sharko
Brooklyn, New York , United States ( JFK )
Paul Clements, Photojournalist Paul Clements
London , United Kingdom ( LHR )


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