The writing is on the wall folks. Film is being killed off. Strip out all the emotion from the facts and we can see the following: Corporations will behave as corporations do, they’re in it to make money. Long gone are the days when the big film companies could hide test, experimental and under performing film (monetarily) products within their product portfolio. All the major manufacturers have their product offerings stripped down to the bone. This is the part where you probably feel some anger or resentment towards the big bad company who took your beloved xxxyyyy iso 1600 slide film away. Release that, it happened, the party is over, and it’s not 1985 anymore.
I own an online Polaroid camera store as well as a retail location in Seattle, WA. Some would argue that I should be the most outraged at Fuji’s decision to discontinue FP-3000b instant peel apart film. I’m mean seriously, I’ve pegged my livelihood to the continued availability of this film. But I don’t. It’s our fault, it’s the vibrant community of enthusiastic film photographers who is to blame. We could mince words here but let’s not be pedantic, or righteous, and just move on. We didn’t buy enough film.
The photography world fell in love with digital. It’s easy to see why and I don’t blame anyone for their decision. But as we can see many photographers are doing a walk of shame back to film. Like regrets and the hangover from a fast and furious love affair, the photography community is starting to wake up and realize that film DOES have a place in art. So, here we are it’s the next morning your head is pounding with anger that this company or that had the audacity to discontinue your favorite film. What can you do, you feel powerless, outraged. So mad it makes you want to tell someone about it… on twitter.
Enter Bob Crowley and the New 55 project. If you don’t know what this is, go read up on it here. I’m not going to waste your time or space holding your hand or playing cheerleader for this project. What I do wish to say about it is this. If this crowd funded, home-grown film project fails to get funded I will slap the next person I have to listen to bitch about Fuji discontinuing FP-3000b. Don’t tell me about your 1st world problems, I don’t care. We are being given the opportunity to send a clear and direct message to the patent holders.
As of writing this piece, the New55 project is not funded with just 5 days left. There’s over $100,000 dollars to go and it’s anyone’s guess if it will get funded in time. So you say, you don’t have a 4×5” camera? You don’t like the ‘look’ of the film? You don’t shoot instant? You’re confused as to what it’s all about. Well let me say this, I can guarantee you that there are eyes watching this. Eyes that make decisions that affect the film industry going forward. The bottom line is this: If this project fails, we the people will be sending a very clear message. “The market for film is dead”
I don’t care if you have a perfectly good excuse for ignoring this project. If you shoot film you need to donate. I don’t care if you donate at the lowest level, or drop $1,000 towards this project or wouldn’t know what to do with the perks. This is about communicating the importance of saving the legacy of film photography. If you have the privilege to afford to shoot with real film in 2014, you can afford to put a few dollars towards New55.