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Brooke Davies and Josh Kiely

Chats with the owners of Shibui Film.

Image by Ella Fitzgerald

When it comes to supporting the local creative community and dreaming up a business never-before-seen on the Gold Coast, these two take the cake.

Brooke Davies and Josh Kiely are the owners of local film lab Shibui Film, a venture that has seen the Coast’s film photography scene absolutely blow up of late.

We sat down for a chat about the simple beauty of film photography and how we can learn the art for ourselves.

How long have you been Gold Coast locals?
We both moved here in 2015 and were trying to figure out how to make something of ourselves here. After seeing so many local creative businesses and brands, we were inspired to take our passion for film photography and make something of it.

What do you love most about living here?
Beautiful beaches, a simple lifestyle and the easygoing people!

Tell us how your business Shibui Film came about…
I (Josh) was working FIFO (fly in fly out) in remote parts of Australia and away from home for up to two months at a time throughout the year. I wanted to have a more stable lifestyle with my partner and friends. My girlfriend (Brooke) and I both loved photography especially film photography, we taught ourselves to develop our own film and fell in love with the whole process. We decided to start up a small side gig developing for our friends and locals film from home. Before long, we were getting flooded with people turning up to our house wanting their film processed, so it escalated quicker than we expected! We registered Shibui Film and expanded to where we are now and have recently been able to open up a full time film lab in Currumbin.

What does Shibui mean?
Shibui (pronounced: SHE-BOO-EE) is a Japanese term to describe a certain aesthetic; simple, subtle, unobtrusive beauty.

How long have you been photographers and how did you get started?
Brooke studied photography straight out of high school and fell into running her own full time wedding photography business for over seven years. While running Shibui Film, she is also currently pursuing a career in editorial/fashion photography shooting exclusively on film. Josh has been photographing as a hobbyist for about five years shooting underwater, surfing and raw landscapes. He loves the technical side of developing/scanning, as well as being the general handyman and technician at the lab.

Where do you find inspiration for your work?
We saw a gap in the market when it came to film development and processing. Our inspiration came from seeing established labs interstate and internationally that created a local film community and we wanted to bring that to the Gold Coast.

What do you love shooting for fun?
Generally just whatever is happening in our lives at the time – memories to look back on and remember.

Any advice for aspiring photographers?
Don’t sell yourself short or be discouraged easily, learn as much as you can and experiment with different techniques.

What’s in the works for the rest of 2019 for you?
We want to support local artists and photographers as much as we can to help create a thriving film community, we are going to be offering Film Photography workshops in the coming weeks which we are super excited about. We have also just expanded our lab/warehouse into a natural light studio called ‘The Lucent Room’ which we hope will open doors for us to connect with more photographers and creatives.

Tell us your favourites on the Coast:
Cafe for breakfast: Highline
Coffee spot: Good Day
Restaurant for dinner: Francies Pizzeria
What do you usually get up to on the weekend: Camping and road trips as much as possible!

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