Last week I received an email from Silverprint announcing their relocation. A few years ago the shop moved from Valentine Place to London Road, but, as of last week, the London Road shop is closed. As the email and post on their website states that 85% of their sales are either via telephone or website, the necessity of having a central London premises for a largely mail order business begins to look much less viable, particularly given property prices in the capital. Being five years since I began this blog on film based photography this month, it's apt to reflect on this news today. Unlike in my post a year ago, Four years on, in terms of the state of available film not much significant has changed since then, so I won't examine this topic now. I was certainly one of the 15% of customers visiting the shop, now and again, fairly often over the past decade. I also buy a fair amount online, though never from Silverprint - London Road is a short walk from where I work - but buying online does mean spending money on postage of course, and there's no online equivalent to popping in opportunistically for a couple of rolls of film to shoot on the day.
In London there's now three shops that I use: Process Supplies; West End Cameras (who have recently lowered the prices of some films they stock); and for the lowest prices on Ilford film (35mm and medium format) KVJ Fairdeal in Whitechapel (their website is Total Blank Media) which I first used as a student twenty-two years ago. Of course, a good shop is more than just a series of shelves full of products: Silverprint in London Road had an exhibition space, a useful noticeboard, and hosted events, which will no doubt be missed by many. Incidentally, I found a short reminiscence on the Re:PHOTO blog, about halfway down the post Still Occupied. The Goldfinger Craftbook mentioned in the post isn't now available on the Silverprint website, but when I started developing films again after a break ten years ago it was useful in understanding the processes involved.
When I started this blog five years ago, I wasn't sure if I would be able to sustain it, or even what exactly it would be, and perhaps many of the topics of the posts I've written are of very limited interest (there are many pre-war camera posts and a few about obscure discontinued films). However, on a self-referential note, this month has also seen the blog pass 100,000 views, a small milestone for a small blog I've been writing, when time and circumstances allow, out of my own personal interest in the subject.