In the summer of 2011, the champion of his family, Gary Wong, who had been hired by one of top accounting firms in the world was notified that he won't be need any longer by the firm as contract was coming to an end. Once a member of financial industry's elite, he now found himself a commoner, Gary still remembers vividly as he took a cab home that day even his Taxi driver pitied him and discounted his cab fare. Gary cheerfully looks back on this by saying that KMPG had promoted him to the CEO of FilmNeverDie, a Polaroid Film ebay store he started asa hobby 6 months prior.
Black and White Impossible SX-70 film
Polaroid? You ask, isn't that the vintage instant cameras of yesteryear with their square 3x3 inch film that you would take at parties or graduations? Yeah, you get the picture 😉. FilmNeverDie started as an Ebay Polaroid film supplier, Gary saw a gap in the market when he was finding difficulties in getting polaroid film for his then girlfriend, Wei Wei. The only way to source film for polaroid cameras was to buy it from Impossible film (who had bought over the last Polaroid film factory). The new Polaroid film was a far cry from the heyday of Polaroid films which only took 2-3 minutes before an image would appear. Impossible Polaroid film on the other hand took 30 minutes. One of the blue dyes was incredibly toxic so Impossible needed to reinvent the film chemistry wheel and had to reduce the capacity for each pack of film from 10 exposures to 8.
Fast forward to 2017, now a little more established FilmNeverDie stocks various film cameras from 50$ point and shoots to thousand dollar Leicas. FilmNeverDie is now located in a central city location in Melbourne CBD, level 2 640 Bourke Street. The shop is a lively center for the emerging scene of film photographers in Melbourne, offering communal film scanning services, photowalks and get-togethers, and also classes in developing Black and White film. The space encourages patrons to openly talk about their photographic and other creative projects, the aim is to develop together as a community. Which is why FilmNeverDie have decided to expand their services to include film developing to make FilmNeverDIe a one-stop film photography hub. A Kickstarter campaign has been launched to fund this and potentially a new space to house the ever expanding pursuits of the FilmNeverDie community. There are some fantastic rewards if you want to support us reach our goal such as 10 rolls of IRO film for 48$ or even 3 months worth of film (92 rolls, that's one a day including develop and scanning) for $750. It ends on the 22nd of July so be sure to pledge soon!
Gary Wong in Japan, March 2017
Photos taken by Gary Wong and Wei Wei