Film Is Not Dead.
Though recent years have brought about the rise of digital mediums, even the smartphone camera is nearing professional quality, analog technology is undeniably having a resurgence. More and more photographers, whether amateur or professional, are returning to shooting film, and some never stopped.
Admittedly, there are obvious advantages to the digital world, the convenience and immediacy are clearly incomparable, and the process can be described with a certain ease; each shot can be taken, and retaken, without the worry of wasting film. The instancy of the results allow the ‘perfect shot’, but there is an authenticity to film that cannot be replicated through modern technology. Ask anyone about the appeal of film, and you’ll probably receive a similar response, the inability to check your snaps as you take them affords something else entirely, it allows for the creative process to awaken; you really have to think about what you’re shooting. There’s also a sense of creation that you don’t experience with digital, a feel that your work exists, it’s real, its physical.
Despite the enthusiasm for the medium, there’s been a loss of accessibility within the community recently. UK retailers such as Boots, Asda, and many others, have scrapped their developing facilities in attempts to cut costs. Though Boots promise that those wishing to develop film can still send it away to be developed, this is a huge loss for many. Despite the reaffirmation of love for film, it is becoming harder, and more expensive to engage with. Even major photography brands such as Canon have halted production of film cameras. The last to go was the EOS-1V, though Canon have promised to repair the camera until 2025, repairs could be refused from as early as October 2021, due to a lack of replacement parts.
The cuts come as a shock to some, as many companies have seen spikes in income within the last few years. Fujifilm’s profits have increased steadily since 2018, due mostly to the success of their Instax camera. Kodak recently announced their plans to increase production of their range of film products, due to increased demand, though this investment in production also comes with an increase to the price of their products, Kodak have promised there will be ‘additional benefits’ from the investment, in 2021. 2017 also saw the re-emergence of Polaroid into the market. Switching from The Impossible Project, which bought out Polaroid’s developing facilities in 2008, to Polaroid Originals, the brand have released two new cameras, inspired by the 1977 OneStep camera. According to the brand, ‘Polaroid is back’.
In truth, you only have to check Instagram’s ‘#Filmisnotdead’ hashtag to see that it’s true, film is not dead. There are upwards of 10 million posts, all displaying uniquely beautiful shots. For some, getting into film may seem daunting, but in reality its quite simple. Even the most basic ‘point and shoot’ can give you incomparable results. It doesn’t have to be expensive or top of the range to give you the results you want. Cameras can be picked up on eBay or Depop for £10 and produce incredible results. Here at Set, we love the candid quality that analog photography can give even the most posed of shots. There’s something romantic about the medium, and its up to all of us to keep it alive.
Written by Eleanor Aithwaite