We are hiring a film lab technician who we will train!
We’re very excited to launch a search for a lab technician in our film lab. This is a position that starts part time and will ease into a full time role. Expect to work Monday through Wednesday, with some flexibility, and no weekends are in the forecast.
First, some definitions. The film lab is equal parts art and science. The science part refers to the professional equipment used to process a lot of color film every day (we also process B/W by hand, but this role is focused on color film processing). The job of the technician is to get to know the machines: how they work, how to keep them working, how to love them, how to not make them angry, how to serve them everything they need, and how to get the most productivity out of them. Over time and with extensive training, technicians learn the daily, weekly, and monthly cleaning and inspecting regimen of the machines, and learn the sanctity of never violating this regimen. They become familiar with troubleshooting and even small repairs. They become mini chemists because machines are filled with fresh chemistry that’s carefully mixed, calibrated, rechecked and plotted on graphs using a densitometer. And they learn to physically work fast and efficiently in a coordinated dance with the machine and the rest of the team.
The art part is the extreme reverence to the process and respect for each customer and their work. Technicians embody respect for every last frame on every roll of film. And they absolutley make creative judgments hundreds of times every day when they scan film and are able to adjust density and color in order to provide a better product, and when they make prints straight from processed and scanned film.
When we opened in 1997 there were many applicants who had worked in other labs and came to us fully trained. There were even college majors in photo lab science and lab oprations. But because this sort of work experience is more unlikely in 2022, we want to encourage you to apply with just the right and relevant aptitude and attitude. What do we mean?
The attitude means above all that you love photography. You love film, you shoot film, you’ve processed some film at home or at school and you really liked the process. It also means you like the sort of work where you get into a flow and a zone as you work through a giant pile of orders. You enjoy the repetitive ritual of a process, standing up much of the day, and using your body in light physical work (but sometimes in lifting some heavy boxes, etc.). You respect a process, and you try to improve on it. You’re not elitist about what is art and what isn’t and you know that your work is to create access to art and creativity for many people rather than be an art critic. You’re also eager to learn but comfortable with going slow. In this role, you will not be alone, and will not get thrown into the deep end. In return, and to recover our investment in you, we’ll want to know that your plans to stay in Philly are solid, and we’ll be curious about your career plans and how working at PhotoLounge could feed those.
The apptitude means demonstrated experience getting to know a process, a machine and a flow, and mastering it. It could be in any field, almost. A barista is a decent example. A good barista understands coffee, coffee preparation methods and the equipment, and they are physically quick, coordinated and efficient. We’re curious about your work in another industry that you feel is relevant to the work in the film lab. Also, tell us about any troubleshooting skills, or particular technical aptitude, or why you like to follow recipes, or not follow instructions, or the one big thing that broke that you managed to fix (and how), and how you go about solving problems, and how you like to learn.
We trust that you know yourself, and we ask for your trust in us to be curious about what you bring that is more than just skills on day one. If you take the time to tell us about yourself in ways that inform us, we promise to consider you.
Finally, PhotoLounge is a nice place to work. We’re a small company but well known and very established. We’re known for high quality and for being really nice and helpful to customers at every level. We’re located in a beautiful historic brownstone which is in the best part of center city and very convenient from almost anywhere. We promote from within and if you want to grow, you can earn that ability here by doing a great job and having a can do, happy to help attitude (this was a clue - we’re looking for someone who can find a home with us and grow).
Ready to apply? Great, but please make a great first impression by taking your time with your cover letter. That’s the most important part. Also include an up to date resume. Send it in PDF format to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you!