I’m in Love With a Photo Lab

There’s a magical place in San Francisco where creativity runs free and artists can grow in ways they never imagined.

It’s a place where world-famous photographers and aspiring iPhone shutterbugs work side-by-side, inspiring and learning from each other.

Dickerman Prints is a vortex where digital and analog photography continue to coexist. Where darkroom techniques are used in every Photoshop edit ... and where the laser printer uses darkroom chemistry to create old school-style prints from digital files.

Whether you’re an expert at post processing or have never retouched a photo in your life, the incredibly kind and patient staff are there to help guide you through the process. Plus, where else can you sit down at a computer and edit your photos in Photoshop or Lightroom while sipping on an organic espresso or tea … FOR FREE?!

 

I tell you, Dickerman Prints is one-of-a-kind.

At this point, I should probably confess that I’m completely biased. My love affair with Dickerman Prints started in 2010, after finishing up a year-long backpacking adventure. My hard drive was full of photos from around the world, and my head was filled with dreams of working as a professional photographer.

Behind the scenes at Dickerman Prints

That’s when I met Seth Dickerman - on a job interview to become the lab’s marketing director. To say that the opportunity changed my life is an understatement.

Every day, I watched Seth, Garnell, Gabriel, and Laura edit, enhance, remaster, and reimagine countless photos. Landscapes, cityscapes, portraits, old family photos, black and whites, vibrant colors, muted palates, film, digital … they worked their magic on everything!

Every time I looked over their shoulders, I learned something new. If I ever had any questions about their technique, all I had to do was ask. The best part about this generosity of information is that they readily offered it to anyone who walked in the door. I lovingly call this above-and-beyond service “The Dickerman Difference.”

 

The Dickerman Difference

The Dickerman Difference can be found in all the small touches. In the countless reprints until every minute detail is perfect. In the hours spent explaining the differences in inkjet papers — or in the effort put into even the most basic of scans. It’s evident in the ear-to-ear smile you get when holding a freshly printed photograph - and in the joy received when the complete stranger standing next to you compliments your work.

It’s tough being a photo lab in an era where printing photos is often considered a novelty. Yet here we are … staying alive when so many of our dear friends and colleagues are closing their doors. And thank goodness, because Dickerman Prints really is the heart and soul of photography in San Francisco.

As for me, 7+ years after my fateful interview, I owe more than I can express to Dickerman Prints and to Seth Dickerman. Even now that my family has moved to Santa Cruz, I still make sure to take regular drives up to SF to spend time in the lab. To surround myself with my lab family. To get inspired once again. And, to simply “be” in the most magical place I’ve ever know.

So thanks, Dickerman Prints. I truly, completely, and unabashedly love you!

 

About the Author

Greg Goodman is a photographic storyteller whose work has appeared in galleries, publications, airports, TV shows, and private collections around the world.

To see his work, please visit Adventures of a GoodMan: Photographic Storytelling by Greg Goodman

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