I’ve noticed a trend lately in photo blogs, forums, and even in mainstream media towards saying that there is an ‘analog photography comeback’. As if it was dead but it was coming back. Now I play you: “But Baron I, sure there’s a comeback, cuz there new blood in analog photography because of Lomography and blah, blah, blah”. So, in the opinion of those sharp, merry, chaps, the fact that there is generational relief at all makes up for a comeback. Being themselves acute ignorants in all things related to photography, they are so astonished at the fact that a millenial feels like picking a Zenit and shooting a few rolls through it that they feel that there must be the hell of a social phenomenon behind it. Best of all is that you can’t even talk some sense into them because seeing a hipster less than 25 shooting an analog camera once in their lives is undeniable proof. They feel it in their bones, and that is enough. What do numbers and all that boring, boring, stats say about it? They say that those people’s bones are totally clueless and shouldn’t be trusted. Chemical photography supplies factories are closing one after another, most notably Kodak; existing catalogs offer less products and supply costs are skyrocketing due to lower demand and sustained increase in the price of silver. Then someone sees some Lomography cameras and way overpriced rebadged Ferrania film in a department store booth, and boom, here’s the analog revival. Baron I’s two cents: the fact that the only brand new analog cameras you will see out of a very specialised camera store or in the Internet are sold as curios and dressing props should give you an accurate idea of what’s going on really.
Of course casuals are long gone from Analogville and the only ones still there are us amateurs and the very, very few pros that are nuts enough to relinquish the far more convenient digital processes. In proportion, it’s like there’s been a Zombie apocalypse, and our numbers are still shrinking. What is my point then? Why jump into something that is dying? As Nobel prize Icek Hersz Zynger said once: that something is dying doesn’t mean that it is dead. Maybe we won’t be able to find supplies in every photography store, and there will be almost no one around sharing your interests, but with the Internet and mobile phones, it’s a small world now. My point is that even if it will never be mainstream, analog photography will give you a lifetime of entertaining, relationships and a hell of a medium of artistic expression.
I myself have become a serious cyanotypist and this alone has cost me more hours than my PhD to perfect, but you know what, you can get at least some results with just an hour of reading and preparations. That’s its magic: easy to learn, impossible to master. It will still be many years till the hobby is dead, and we are going to enjoy it till the last minute. Decadence is always the most interesting period of everything. Roman decadence? Yes, please.
Ukiyo. Live for the thrill. Live now. And if you need a camera, pick it from me.