The recent the opening of the SilvergrainClassics Studio/Lab in Germany gave Marwan El-Mozayen, editor-in-chief of PhotoKlassik International and co-owner of the lab the chance to organize an impressive meeting of the minds.
There was an opportunity to let company leaders interact with members of the film photography community and also speak among themselves to discuss planning for the future. A happy coincidence saw Lina Bessonova travelling through Germany at the same time, and she was recruited to moderate the discussion for a live-stream on her channel. The guest list was a veritable whos-who of the film business in Europe:
Mirko Böddecker of ADOX, Johannes Bockemühl of JOBO, Klaus-Peter Richter of Gossen, Jürgen Heiland of Heiland Elektronik, Karl Hudson of Hudson Grafik Services, and representing the oldest company, TETENAL, was a “newbie” in film circles, Peter Rasenberger.
(For those of you that haven’t been keeping up with the Tetenal story, you may want to start here, where I wrote a brief summary of the dramatic recent events surrounding the pillar of our film community. For a more in-depth look, PhotoKlassik International will be featuring a story about the saving of Tetenal in issue II/2019.)
Among the many connections and ideas that came out of the SilvergrainClassics event was an inspiration for Tetenal which had been floating around in Marwan El-Mozayen’s head. Knowing that the company was in the process of changing its focus to include direct sales to end-users in addition to large labs, he suggested that one item that could be resurrected from the long list of Tetenal products should be a press kit for developing films; or more specifically, the developer tablets that had been contained in the kit. The idea was picked up enthusiastically by Rasenberger and others within TETENAL.
An effervescent tablet form of E6 and C41 developer chemicals would have many advantages. First and perhaps foremost, a tablet has an almost unlimited shelf life and requires extremely little storage space. For home users with small darkrooms, this would ease storage space problems and eliminate wasted liquid chemicals that had “gone bad” in the time between developing one batch of film until the next.
Most photographers today order online rather than trotting down to their local store, and tablets have the advantage of being much more cost-effective to ship, too. For fans of mobile lab developing boxes, what better way to bring along your developer! Just add water on-site, no measuring of different components or worrying about leaks on the way. Environmentally, the tablets would also be more responsible since they cut down on both shipping space/weight and also waste chemicals.
The challenge now is to get these “TETENAL tablets” from the idea stage into an online catalogue.
Although TETENAL produced the tablets until the turn of the millennium and still has the necessary know-how and production facilities, it would still involve a lot of work to adapt the pre-existing product to today’s market. New regulations would have to be evaluated and adhered to, and new sources would need to be found for raw materials. SilvergrainClassics and TETENAL are at the beginning stages of evaluating the demand for the tablets to see if the investment would be justified. The idea of crowd-funding an initial offering is seen as a probable (but not the only) way forward, and things are moving quickly.
So, my call to arms for you is to ask you: what do you think? Would you be interested in buying your developer in tablet form? Do you have suggestions for the team who are developing the idea?
Please leave your comments in the section at the foot of this page. We will be collecting your thoughts and passing them on to Tetenal for review. If you want to see the return of this unique, innovative product, it’s time to make your voice heard.
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