FilmNeverDie – Keeping film photography alive & clicking!

 

ϟ ϟ ϟ Film is NOT dead. FilmNeverDie in Melbourne is proof. I have been collecting film cameras and shooting film since i was a teenager, my enthusiasm comes in waves for photography in-between and around riding bikes and being a musician.. but when the wave comes it comes in tsunami. Mid last year i was in search for Kodak Portra 400 in a hurry for a project i had on my mind. Not being a Melbourne native i wasn’t sure where to get it here But everyones best friend Google advised me of a place which seemed interesting and it just happened to be a 7 minute ride from my house. The location seemed kind of odd and admittedly i was slightly nervous venturing alone down a back alley to a garage door.

I was greeted first by Headie, Gary’s handsome dog who was that day wearing his special event bow tie. Then i walked through the door and almost fainted. My first thought was ‘what the.. ?! i have died and gone to Polaroid heaven’. It was actually overwhelming.  The shop is bursting with Polaroid cameras, rangefinders, medium format (all for sale). They have an extensive range of films in stock at all times at very competitive prices and if they don’t have what you want, they can get it for you AND there’s a loyalty program so you can get a free roll of film every now and then! FilmNeverDie is one of Melbourne’s hidden treasures, if you’re into analog film photography or slightly curious – you MUST pay these guys a visit ASAP!

Gary (Founder/Owner) tell’s us how it all began and a bit about their mission to keep film photography alive and clicking!


YOU OPENED IN 2011 – WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO OPEN FILM NEVER DIE?

So back in 2011 , out of the blue I bought Wei Wei, my spouse, a Polaroid camera as a Christmas present, only to realise that I can’t get polaroid films anymore. After doing some research I found out that The Impossible Project, had just bought the last factory from Polaroid and have revamped the film production. So I started to buy in bulk ( just because shipping was cheaper) and then tried to offload the extra films. I tried eBay and they were gone within a week, so I just kept repeating the cycle. As I learnt more and more about Polaroid, only then did I realize what an amazing company it used to be, how a visionary leader, lead the company to make revolutionary items. Making the Sx-70 SLR Polaroid camera, was definitely the pinnacle of Polaroid. As soon as I knew about the Sx-70 SLR camera and picked one up myself , I was sold! The whole analogue world opened up to me, like a black-hole it sucked me in, just for me to discover a whole new realm of amazing analogue cameras and the rich history behind it. The third light bulb moment came shortly after, since I won’t be shooting much as a professional; Digital, with the price consistently degrading over time, seemed like a waste to me, why not invest in vintage analogue cameras that have great lenses and are still perfect to shoot with? To shoot on film? Bam! FilmNeverDie was born, to spread the love of Polaroid and Analogue photography and become the best support group you can find in Australia!

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THERE ARE 3 OF YOU NOW, WHAT ARE EVERYONES ROLES IN THERE?

At the moment, in the shop we have Janet Xu, Sebastian Young and myself. Janet’s main role is doing accounting and admin work, she is the one who sources awesome articles online and shares them on our social media platforms, she is also doing an amazing job in keeping our inventory up-to-date and our books clean and tidy. She will be away for 3 months, hence we have Kimi Lim who is helping us out 2 days a week. Janet or Kimi also serve customers, so I challenge you guys to put their Polaroid and films knowledge to the test. Sebastian’s role is to run the daily operation of the shop, as you might know we sell online too, so roughly 60% of our sales come from online, so having Sebastian to serve customers, answer all the enquiries and pack up all the postage is vital to keep us moving forward. And he is amazing at doing that, a lomographer at heart, he is starting to venture into Polaorid and learn the ropes to make this a better business. Oh! he is starting to make his own films too – check out Sebastemulsion. My role ( Gary Wong ) will be to build the whole team up and guide us to uncharted territories to resuscitate film photography among youngsters and professionals. I believe Polaroid, film and digital can co-exist so I need to do everything we can to build and sustain the movement. Which means I do a lot of routine & admin work to make sure we have a vision for our future goals, plan how we are going to get there and execute the plan to meet our goals. I love to dig in and do all the operational work too, so you will still see me in the shop too. Knowing that we are doing this as a team gives me great satisfaction.

 Besides the 3 that are in the shop daily, we also have Eric Cham, Andrew Lim, Nazmus Sakib, Miraj Tasnim and Kimi Lim too. Eric comes in on Saturdays to the shop, who runs our marketing strategies and our vintage camera section. Artistically, planning out events, marketing campaigns to make sure our message will be conveyed efficiently to the public. He is also an expert in film and Polaroid cameras. If you need to speak to an expert, come on Saturdays! Andrew helps us out crunching the numbers, doing a great job making sure that financially we are viable and staying on track to fulfil our greater visions and goals. With an analytical mind he also keeps track of our online traffic and makes sure we are gaining momentum. Sakib is our key IT guy based in Bangladesh, together with Miraj (his cousin) they make sure we make a presence in as much marketplaces as we can, ranging from Amazon to Trading Post. They also do a good job making sure our database is clean and tidy and our content is up-to-date. Kimi is a passionate Polaroid photographer, who at heart is helping us out as an intern to make sure our books, social media and shop looks inviting and comfortable.

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YOU HAVE AN ONLINE STORE SELLING WORLDWIDE, WHAT IS YOUR MOST POPULAR PRODUCT?

Polaroid Films is definitely our best seller, one of the reasons is because we started when The Impossible Project were making experimental Polaroid films. The original blue chemical dye in the film was toxic so they needed to redo the whole chemical process as a result the films. Initially they were very unpredictable in the beginning. Allowing us to establish ourselves as experts as we hang in there and sort out all the Polaroid enquiries that come our way.

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WHATS HAPPENING WITH SEBASTEMULSION AND CAN WE KNOW MORE ABOUT IT?

Yup, Sebastemulsion is live! A product by Sebastian Young!

 After he shortly started shooting 35mm film in 2011, he began doing crazy experiments like putting them through the washing machine, making redscale, multiple exposures, film swaps etc and has been doing it ever since.

He was talking to a few friends about making redscale to sell through the shop, and realised he could be making heaps of other customised film as well.

 After lots of hard work he has now got a small range (That will be expanded over time) of customised film!

Want technicolour rainbow images? Check out Surfactant 200!

Looking for raging reds and lush greens? Radscale 25-200 will get you there!

Wanting to add some rainbow colours to your images? Bokashi 400 is what you need!

Check out heaps more info at: facebook.com/sebastemulsion & filmneverdie.com.au/blogs/news/15265865-sebastemulsion-custom-35mm-films

You can buy exclusively at FilmNeverDie, but be warned, stock is limited!

 filmneverdie.com.au/collections/sebastemulsion

 

HOW OFTEN ARE THE POLAROID WALKS IN MELBOURNE?

We try to do them quarterly throughout the year. The Idea of the Polaroid walk is to pass on the knowledge of how to make the most of your Polaroid cameras and films and take killer photos. You will often bring your own camera and films, but you can hire them from us if you want. Plus we also find it a find fun way to meet fellow Polaroid and film users and to engage with the film community. There will be an epic polaroid walk running for 4 days in a row, coming up this weekend with the Melbourne Fringe Festival! With free Polaroid films to shoot with and free Polaroid cameras to use! http://filmneverdie.com.au/blogs/news/15418277-melbourne-fringe-x-filmneverdie-polaroid-walk

WHY HASNT HEADIE (GARY’S DOG) BEEN WEARING HIS BOWTIE LATELY?

The Bowtie is only for special events! He was wearing it to celebrate our revamping of our gallery shop back in March! Plus in summer, he might get grumpy haha. Let’s ask him if he wants to wear it when you come in next!

WHAT IS ‘YOUR’ ALL TIME FAVOURITE CAMERA / FORMAT?

Polaroid and Medium format both sit at Number 1 on my personal list. Because with Polaroid you only get 8 shots and Medium format (120 film) you only get 12 shots a roll. I opt for lower shots, simply because less is more. So you are forced to make every photo really count. But if you really want to get technical, then it will be Polaroid, Sx-70 SLR camera or Fujifilm FP1 , ok Polaroid Sx-70 SLR camera, or if I wanted full features I will use an SLR680 ( Because it has a flash and autofocus). ok. Sx-70 SLR – Polaroid Sx-70 or 600 Films!

FilmNeverDie gave us an Ilford HP5 Super Single Use Camera with 27 Exposures which is pre-loaded with ISO 400 HP5 film to give away, stay tuned for the competition details up on the ITCHY Facebook page and Instagram @itchythemovement

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