Back in mid-May 2016, we invited you all to submit your questions to Ilford Photo for the second in a new series of community interviews here on #EMULSIVE. As with the first, the premise is simple: we collect questions from you, the film photography community, package them up and then work with the interview subject to get them answered and published.
Well, we’re ready to share the results!
A massive thanks to everyone who got involved – we had a total of nearly 30 questions from you and as you’ll see from the final Q&A below, we chopped, diced and spliced as many as we could together for a BUMPERsubmission to the very kind folks at Ilford.
I’d like to extend a big thank you to the panel for this interview: Jo Farrell, Craig Pindell and Sandeep Sumal. The process resulted in quite a bit of offline discussion between the four of us (most of it remaining on-topic ;)). With their diverse backgrounds, experiences and focus, Jo, Craig and Sandeep helped both set bar with their initial panel questions; as well as the final form for the Q&A you see below – thank you.
Before we jump into the interview itself, here’s a little from Michelle Parr, who’s been coordinating things from Ilford’s end these past few months.
Over to you, Michelle:
“I work as part of our MarComms team doing a variety of things, but primarily look after our social media streams, so when you’re chatting or sharing with us, it’s likely to be me that you’re talking to.
It’s been really exciting recently with the introduction of Instagram and the blog, plus we have such a great core of followers over Facebook and Twitter who we know are always up for a chat and a bit of banter! I’ve worked at Harman Technology for nearly 15 years in a variety of roles, and can honestly say that I really enjoy my job. (Most of the time anyway!). I’m a self-confessed geek and have a real passion for the beauty of black and white film photography.”
We sat down as a team to go through the questions as we wanted to give you the most detailed answers that we could. At the table were:-
Giles Branthwaite – Sales and Marketing Director
Although new to Harman in February Giles has over 6 years experience in this industry and he’s already got his kids shooting with film!
Matt Parry – MarComms Manager and Pro Photographer
We’re converting Matt back to using film alongside his digital camera gear. He shot his first roll of Delta 400 13 years ago in Cuba and his first roll of HP5+ a couple of weeks ago in the Lakes.
Neil Hibbs – Tech Services and Ilfordlab manager and photo-geek
Neil recently helped turn his Dad’s garden shed into a darkroom, helping print his Dad’s stunning negatives of the 1950’s and 60’s. Neil’s worked at Harman for over 28 years.
You’ll find each of the questions we submitted for review below, as well as accompanying commentary from the panel, and Michelle’s response. We’ll be starting with the panel questions and then moving on to those submitted by the community. We’ve tried to provide credit for each question to the person/people who submitted them but if for some reason you’ve been missed out, please raise your hand so we can update accordingly.
One final thing before we get stuck in…
Unless you’ve been living under a rock recently, you’ll have seen Ilford’s “tea-ser” campaign on social media. It caused a bit of a stir, so I begged Michelle to ask one more question. Let’s start with that:
Will we be seeing the mugs you’ve recently been teasing on social media? Any plans to take pre-ordered to gauge demand?
MP: If there’s enough demand then we will do them, we’ve got loads going on at the minute so it won’t be straight away though!
So there you go. Mic drop, etc. If you want those mugs for your daily tea or coffee fix, the only thing to do is flood Ilford’s inbox with messages – click here to do it before you read on ?
The ILFORD name has been associated with top quality products for as long as I have been a photographer, and in nearly 40 years, I have never had a quality issue with any ILFORD product. Kudos for maintaining that incredible record. You have also been able to survive in a very tough market where other companies have gone bankrupt and left the marketplace – more kudos to you!
Not all of your products suit my photography, but due to the range of products you offer, I have found the materials that fit my vision and style. I am wondering if there are new products in the works, or perhaps some expansion of current offerings (Pan F + in sheet film?), or if you are standing pat with what you offer now?
Michelle Parr: Thanks for the kind comments Craig. We love hearing feedback like this as we are extremely proud of what we do. We never take our customers’ support for granted so feedback is extremely important to us. We know we play a key role in the black and white analogue photo community and that is something we intend to do for many years to come.
Regarding your question on new products/range extensions, the short answer is we don’t have any imminent product announcements. However, it is worth explaining the process on this.
Any new products have to meet certain criteria. They have to be sufficiently different yet still generate a level of demand to ensure it is viable to produce at an attractive price for our customers.
Our existing products are therefore kept purposely diverse to appeal to a range of photographers and genres while having the longevity they need. We do get requests from customers for specific sizes/range extensions and we are exploring ways to collect and collate information to be able to measure levels of interest.
This will almost certainly mean that new products will be introduced in the future so watch this space!
Read the rest of the interview here EMULSIVE x ILFORD community interview: results time | EMULSIVE Community Interviews
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