In week three of our behind the film series we're heading to our technical department to meet our Technical Service Manager Neil Hibbs.
Neil Hibbs – Technical and Lab Services manager
I manage a small team offering technical product support, both internally (to manufacturing and marketing functions) and externally to our worldwide customer base.
I also set-up the Harman Lab business (Formerly Ilford Lab) and run this as a commercial lab operation, offering quality black and white and colour film developing, scanning and printing services.
This is one of my favorite shots I have taken on film. It was shot with XP2S in Marbury park on a misty morning.
My digital file is not very good and doesn’t do it justice, but the print I have on the wall at home looks amazing.
Before I worked for ILFORD I used to use my friends dad’s darkroom. At school I used to carry a Zenit-E on Duke of Edinburgh trips. Of-course it survived no problem!
I like architecture and landscapes and capturing movement, when the kids were growing up I took loads of them, kids take such great pictures... I’m always looking at composition, it means everything really, completely changes an image.
I love pinhole photography too – Such a different perspective and way of working. I’ve included a couple of pinhole shots.
Plenty, especially when shooting large format, opening darkslides by accident, double exposing darkslides, you’ve got to get organised with L/F or it can get messy!
Not hooking the film used to be an early mistake !
Back in the day, lots of Kodak and Agfa colour and some E6 colour slide, even the old Ilfochrome slide film we used to sell. B&W mostly ILFORD stock unless testing competitors. I like XP2, FP4 and DP100
Bit of a silly question as I run the lab, actually a bit of both, but usually just to keep my skills up more than anything, otherwise I would just use HARMANlab.
Yes, I do tend to scan all my negatives too. If I find something nice, I’ll make a darkroom enlargement. Much prefer the creative control and sense of achievement it brings.
I’ve got loads probably too many to list and not all in working order! But my favourites are my OM1-N, Canon EOS 5, Ilford Advocate and My dads old Rollei 2.8E. I probably need to clear out the rest.
I think it’s a toss up between XP2 and FP4+. Both are very versatile. I think I’ll go for XP2, just to be different. XP2’s colour process dye image is completely different to our other films. It’s easy to scan with digital ICE and can be push / pulled (or badly exposed) on the same roll without the need to adjust the processing time. XP2 is super sharp and highlights seem to have an added sparkle I like.
It can also be dev’d like a regular B&W film for something different again! People maybe don’t know this.
I’m 51 years old, married with two sons and have worked for ILFORD/HARMAN pretty much all my working life since 1988. I studied for a Chemistry degree whilst working for Ilford and have worked in many different roles and area’s of the business, mostly with some technical or scientific aspect.
As my sons are now young men (where did that time go?), I’m finding a bit more time for hobbies, of which I probably have far too many! I would include amongst them hiking, biking (both kinds), photography, fixing and tinkering with things (is that a hobby?), retro gaming – I grew up in the 80’s! Astronomy, Cooking, Wild Camping, DIY, Beer etc etc… too much to do and not enough time! My wife and I really fancy a Camper van, I think that could be next on the list of things!
I keep work and family/social fairly separate. Sometimes I post on twitter @neilhibbs, but not work stuff, it’s fairly random and might be about some retro-gaming project or long-distance hike. I’m not a reality TV star, so no-one takes any notice anyway!
Posted on 27th April 2017
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