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The future of analog photography

2011/04/07

‘Analog photography is dead’.

I’ve often read this statement in several – mostly digital shooter – forums. Fact is, that analog or film based photograph had to face a decline over the past decade, but it is still alive. Just visit apug.org (English), rangefinderforum (English), aphog (German), VFDKV (German), dpug.org (English), choosefilm (English) and many other forums around the globe, and you get an idea that there are many film shooters.

Just yesterday I’ve talked to Fuji EuroColor Gera, the largest lab in Europe, which processes negative film (C41), slide film (E6) and traditional black and white film. Their machines are still running at the same speed for 2 years now. When I asked them how they see the future development or if they could imagine and end of film, the answer was: Come back in 5 years and ask the same questions again.

Fuji made some 200 million Euro sales with film last year, Kodak considerably more. Film for photography, not for the motion picture industry.

Anyway, film will be around for a very long time and fill niches, which will turn into profitable enterprises. It’s like with fine arts: some modern paintings with modern paints generate higher prices than any other painting ever before. It is a huge market which had not been killed by the invention of photography.

Truth is, that millions of digital shooters will churn out more images than ever before. But quality images are a rare species among these masses. Sports and event shooters, magazine and editorial shooters will continue with digital, because the quality is sufficient for these media. But there are many more viable fields where photography with another medium will be present and even improved. Architecture, interior, documentation, adventure, travel, landscape, art – you name it.

Analog photography will be photography – just made with a different medium.

Analog photography is alive!

Read the Kodak statement about the future of film

2011-04-07

Some links with articles and thoughts about film:

http://visualsciencelab.blogspot.com/2011/08/going-backwards-or-epiphany-i-had-while.html

http://visualsciencelab.blogspot.com/2009/04/everything-old-is-new-againphotography.html

http://dougmenuez.com/2009/04/10/the-zen-of-film-vs-digital-gratification/

http://blog.epicedits.com/2008/07/15/10-things-i-hate-about-film/

http://blog.epicedits.com/2008/07/18/10-things-i-love-about-film/

http://www.travelphotomag.com/technique/creditcrunch.html

http://kalamir.net/

5 comments

  1. I wholeheartedly agree with much of what you’ve written. For medium and large format photography, it will be a long time before digital can replace film altogether — certainly not before the costs of manufacturing large sensors comes down a great deal or some new technology comes along for stitching together output from multiple sensors on the fly, or something else wild like that (although, the new Pentax MF digital camera is selling much faster than Pentax ever dreamed…). And we shouldn’t pay too much attention to the jabbering on photo forums, which tend to attract a lot of people who like to jabber (even when they are correct…).

    But as I see it the issue isn’t the viability of film as a medium so much as it is the way contemporary corporate culture views manufacturing and profits. These are the issues that have me worried, and which are more of a threat to film than digital(as a medium). When a company becomes a mere poker chip for the “financial industry (HA! what is industrious about it???)”, all bets are off.

    FYI, here in my city film processing in pro labs has shrunk to a trickle. For some interesting reasons we used to have a wealth of pro labs, large and small, doing good film work. Now they are almost all gone, down to one or two. That is not the impact of digital on consumers, who never used these labs in the first place, but the loss of the commercial photographers. At the same time, the schools here, both secondary and undergraduate, continue to teach film and wet darkroom, which I find quite interesting.


  2. Long life to film photography!!


  3. I fully agree with you! Film is not dead and the future of film is definitely bright. You just have to look at the number of toy cameras walking in the streets. More than being just “fashionable” shooting film is the best way to relax and compose proper shots !


  4. Hello I am a Digital Film student in CA. I am currently starting a blog about analog photography for school. Your blog is a great referance for me, thank you.


  5. […] about their work with analog photography. When did they get into it? What makes analog so special? What will the future hold for analog film? Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this […]



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