Juho from Camera Ventures, a Finnish business, has launched a site asking for people to contribute to a global map of film photography (“analog photography” in his words). The page that goes with this appeal is incredibly interesting, and Juho writes that he has been researching this topic for 9 months. In my opinion, it shows.
The page is a comprehensive look at the film photography ecosystem, and Juho identifies what he considers the 4 major problems that the scene will face in the future. These basically revolve around the supply chain for old cameras, development equipment, minilabs, scanners, and that sort of thing. He correctly points out that a lack of film is not necessarily the danger that the ecosystem faces.
I agree with this completely. I just wrote yesterday about scanning being a major pain point for people when it comes to film, and I’ve actually got a long piece of writing I’ll be posting soon that talks about some other holes in the ecosystem, but I don’t think film is one. More film is being produced now than anyone thought likely just a few years ago, and I think that piece of the puzzle is fine.
It’s actually funny, if you read old forums posts from about 10, or even 5 years ago, it’s hard not to find people who are very alarmed about supplies actual film disappearing completely. This makes perfect sense, because film is a consumable item, with a shelf life, but as so often happens, it turns out that people were worrying about the wrong thing.
Nowadays, film is probably the thing that is easiest to buy. Getting a nice camera is more of a pain (having to deal with people from Ebay/Kijiji/Letgo/Craigslist/whatever), and choices for scanners are even worse, with only a few decent options out there, and legends like the Pakon F-135 permanently out of production, and skyrocketing in price.
So, good luck to Camera Ventures with their map, I’m going to contribute myself with the resources from the “Where to Get Film Developed in Canada in 2017” page I recently made (and still need to format a bit more neatly).