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Henk Mantel: To boldly go beyond the usual shopping

January 26, 2013

Now the time draws near to really start ordering our paper and chemicals and other equipment. Because I am more or less raring to go, I ordered paper, chemicals, glassware, etc.

Obviously there is no supplier able to sell you all you need. It took me some time to find out where to buy here in Germany. Being Dutch, I enquired also in Holland of course. At first it seemed that all kinds of legal restrictions exist, making it virtually impossible to buy e.g. silver nitrate and potassium chloride. There seemed to be numerous restrictions in Europe, and despite being members of the same European Union, regulations differ per country. In the end it all turned out to be far less complicated. Of course there are restrictions on shipment of dangerous materials. But aren't we all glad that the cargo hold of the airplane we are travelling on is free of the chemicals that enthusiasts send each other.

To make it easier for Europeans to join in the TLF emulsion making adventures, a list of suppliers might come in handy. Without the contributions of the members of the Apug forums it would have cost much more effort to compile this list. This is just the initial stage of collecting information, these are just the first results. Many of the contacted firms do not supply raw chemicals, just the well known readymade products, therefore they are not mentioned. The language barrier, if any, is easily overcome by sending an email to a firm and seeing what happens. If you might know of other non-American suppliers, please send their addresses to the Light Farm.

Every address mentioned below has been checked either by email or phone.

atelier pH 7 : all needed chemicals available, and furthermore, a very interesting site on photography. Multi-lingual owner, Dutch-French-English.

Fotoimpex : no raw chemicals for the things needed in emulsion making, but they supply Photogelatine.

Lumiere Online Shop : everything available, contact Siegward Schmitz.

Moersch Photochemie: transfers any order to Phototechnik Suvatlar.

Phototechnik Suvatlar Hamburg: all imaginable chemicals in stock. Also willing to export within the EU. Not a real web shop though. Ordering is by sending an email, delivery the next day, invoice sent separately.

Great Britain: : more than everything available, but only of interest to UK residents because of restrictions on export of chemicals and minimum order value of 100,- GBP. (Checked via APUG comments).

de ready to search and provide the chemicals that are not listed. Is allowed to send small quantities of chemicals to EU countries. all chemicals available, extensive stock of laboratory equipment. Supplies all kinds of used equipment.

Aquarelle paper is available everywhere. But, if you want to order what the Lightfarm is advising to use: Fabriano and Arches — widely available, but abbreviations like HP for Hot Press could make it difficult.

On You Tube the Tutorials of Dick Blick give info on all kinds of aquarelle paper. It is fun to refresh forgotten knowledge about art and aquarelles or to discover something new. Also it is fairly easy to find conversion tables and info on paper weights on the internet. In Germany, the website of "Easy Aquarell" translates the abbreviations into German. Hot Press translates into Satin or " satiniert". I think the Dutch might prefer Hotpress or HP to "Zijdeglans".

A lot has been said on several internet forums about the regulations and other legal impediments on efforts to obtain the needed chemicals. For sure there are hurdles, but you need not be an athlete to overcome these. There are restrictions. Not everything is everywhere the same, but why should that be a handicap? Why not venture a small step forward, order your stuff and make a giant leap in your darkroom abilities.

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