Today in our 8th Behind the Film interview we talk to Mike Bain. One of our longer serving team members, Mike started in our tech team and now looks after North America. He has probably forgotten more about film photography and darkroom printing than some of us will ever learn!

Who are you? What’s your job title HARMAN technology and how long have you worked here?

My name is Mike Bain and I am the Harman technology rep for North America. I have been with the company for 33 years.

Mexico City, Mexico

Tell us a little about your day to day role.

My days are spent working with my colleagues at the factory and our North American distributors and dealers trying to ensure we have the right mix and amount of product here in North America (harder than it sounds). I also work with dealers, labs, teachers and photographers regarding technical questions and general day to day issues. I have travelled frequently for most of my time with Ilford and have been fortunate to meet all kinds of great photographers and printers doing really beautiful, diverse and interesting work. That’s the best part of the job.

Share a favourite photo that you shot on ILFORD / Kentmere film and tell us why it’s your favourite.

My favorite photos change every time I go back and look at old negatives in my files.  I think that is true for most photographers I’ve met. Looking through new eyes and all that…


Have you always shot film, or did you get infected with the bug when you started working here?

I have shot film and worked in the darkroom since I was around 14 or 15 years old, long before working for Ilford. I plan on shooting film and having a darkroom for the rest of my life.

What subjects do you like to photograph and how would you describe your photographic style?

Taking walks and taking photos.

What mistakes have you made shooting film that you are not too embarrassed to share?

I wouldn’t even know where to start. Fortunately, I don’t make as many as I used to but once in a while I find myself forgetting what I loaded in my Rolleiflex and shooting it at the wrong ISO. That can be frustrating and I am sure I am the only one who has ever done this…

How many different film stocks have you shot? (Not just ours.)

In my lifetime I’ve shot all kinds of, color negs, transparencies and mostly black and white films. Over the years it is probably 20 or 30 different types

Oak Cliff - Dallas TX

Do you develop yourself or take advantage of the staff discount at Harmanlab?

I normally process my own film but I also use our Harman Lab at times.

Have you ever printed your negatives in the darkroom?

For me the entire goal of shooting film is to make prints in the darkroom. After being out and shooting it is my favorite part of the process. Like most people I know I will never catch up.

Veracruz Mexico

What film camera(s) do you own and which is your favourite?

I have owned and shot with all kinds of equipment over the years with formats from 35mm to 8x10 cameras. Nowadays I shoot 90 percent of the time with my Rolleis. I have a 3.5F and 2.8C. I really like the cameras and I love the square format. Usually I carry around a Zero  Image 6x6 pinhole as well.

Which is your favourites film in our range? Tell us why and share a shot taken with it.

I shoot lots of types but over the years I’ve found that I spend most of my shooting time using HP5 Plus. I do like to carry some Delta 3200 around as well.

Izamal, Mexico


All images ©Mike Bain