Art photography institution, Diamantino Labo Photo threatened by dealers

Diamantino Labo Photo, specialized in film printing, has been working with photographers around the world for over thirty years. But the workshop installed in Bagnolet, in Seine-Saint-Denis, is today threatened by the presence of drug traffickers.

Diamantino Quintas in his photo studio in Bagnolet © Radio France / Hajera Mohammad

“Support Diamantino Labo Photo workshop against resellers”, this is the title of the petition launched a few days ago by the head of this photo lab located in Bagnolet (Seine-Saint-Denis), the last to develop large-scale silver photos. The petition had collected more than 1,700 signatures as of Thursday night.

For over 30 years, photographers from all over the world have used the services of Diamantino Quintas and its team. Agnès Varda and the war photo-reporter Gilles Caron also had their habits. Diamantino Quintas, the only master filter printer in France, works with over 300 clients and develops art, fashion and botanical photos. These are published in books, in the press or for exhibitions. A company that, on paper, is in great shape.

daily annoyances

But three years ago and the change of the photo lab from Montrouge (Hauts-de-Seine) to Bagnolet, the team suffers daily annoyances caused by a group of drug dealers. A group of about ten men, who remain all day in front of the gate of the building that houses the workshop. Sometimes they even allow entry into the lobby to conduct their drug dealing.

“The worst thing is the noise, we need maximum concentration on our work and then, scream, scream… Then there’s dirt, smells, vomit sometimes at the entrance”, says the boss. “Once, they completely broke down the gate with a ram cart. Some days, you almost have to ask permission to enter.” When customers arrive on site, “This clearly gives a bad image“, recognizes Joëlle, collaborator.

The Diamantino Photo Lab workshop in Bagnolet
The Diamantino Photo Lab workshop in Bagnolet © Radio France / Hajera Mohammad

In January 2021, Diamantino Quintas tries, with a neighbor, to talk to these concessionaires to ask them to leave the premises. “They fell on top of us, beat us up. Luckily I wasn’t hospitalized, but I still have a crooked chin and scratches.”

Letters to local authorities

Despite letters addressed to local authorities, the Ministers of Culture and the Interior, the situation has not changed. “The Mayor and his teams had the opportunity to visit the site several times in the spring of 2021, namely in the presence of teams from the police station. The city installed a “stop park” device to limit public parking at the entrance to the company”, specifies in an e-mail the team of Mayor PS de Bagnolet, Tony Di Martino. “We are thinking with the relevant law enforcement authorities in this area about new actions that can be implemented.”

Desperate, Diamantino Quintas decided to launch his petition to appeal to the general public. He won’t last long in these conditions and, at 62, I’m not sure he’ll ever look for a new shop again. “Finding 350 square meters elsewhere in the Paris region for this type of activity is almost impossible. It took me over a year to find it here.”

Today, it is the survival of your company and all the know-how that is at stake. “I’m the only one in France to train young people in the filter-shooter profession. We also have the ‘living heritage company’ seal, it’s a recognition of the photography community. It would be a waste if everything fell apart. water. Today, if I care , it’s with my clients and my team”he confides.

A young team to whom the boss would like to pass this workshop on when he retires, a project currently on hold.

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