Albuquerque photo lab sees resurgence of film photography

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — With access to high-quality cameras right from our phones or high-powered digital cameras, who would’ve thought film cameras would be making a comeback?

The resurgence of film photography is benefiting Picture Perfect Photo Lab in Albuquerque, where you can get your film developed and pictures printed.

Matt Alexander, owner of the photo lab, has seen the ups and downs of the film photography business. He’s worked at the lab since 1996.

“Digital revolution photography really turned the whole industry on its head,” Alexander said. “In the ’90s, we used to print for almost every pro photographer in town.”

Alexander said then, year by year, there were fewer and fewer regular customers.

But over the last few years, using film has become a trend again.

It’s taken off on platforms like Tik Tok and Instagram. Film has become so popular on social media, that people are even using apps and filters to try to achieve the same effects as a real film camera.

“I have no idea like what exactly it is,” Alexander said. “I don’t know if it’s digital fatigue and like, you want something that’s real and you want something that, you know, is that you can kind of hold on to.”

Alexander has seen the younger generation take interest in the resurgence of film, but he says people of all ages also dove into the hobby during the pandemic.

“We kind of dipped down to like 50 rolls a week, which is what we were doing like in the mid-2000s,” he said. “2015, 2016, we maybe got up to about 100 rolls. Now we’re up to like 200 rolls a week and so that’s really cool when you can see like that many rolls of film come through.”