Dear Privileged 1st world film photographer

Disclaimer: Contained in this article will be some liablous and harsh words directly addressing you. If you don’t like the finger pointed at you, I suggest you move on. Go look at pretty pictures on Tumblr, go lament the death of real film in a forum, and in other words go find a sympathetic ear somewhere else. This article contains straight talk directed at people who want to make a difference. Not meant to offend, but meant to bring a different perspective to what kind of situation film photographers find themselves in here in the first quarter of the 21st century.

FP-3000b BoxThe 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.

Image Credit: Tobias Feltus | New55Enter 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.


UPDATE: Aside from our own donations, we’ve decided to step up and put your money towards New55 as well. From now, until the end of the New55 KickStarter campaign will donate $25 dollars out of every sale from every camera sold. If you want to step into instant photography and support and be a part of the world-wide community of instant photographers NOW is a great time.
UPDATE 2: As of 7:30 AM on May 3rd New55 has been funded. Congratulations everyone and especially the New55 team! Our offer above still stands, we will be making additional donations reflecting $25 per camera sold until the end of the kickstarter project on Monday the 5th. Think of it as a way to support the community even if you never have intention on using 4×5 film.
  • Michael Filler

    I tried the link, but it doesn’t play on my android Samsung Galaxy SII.

    If this is about an attempt to revive the old Polaroid Type 55 p/n film then I’m all in.

    I shoot 4*5, 8*10 & 11*14.

    I still have some of the 100 speed Fujiroid in both color and B&W, both sizes. I bought as many cases as would fit in my film fridge. Same with 809 Polaroid.

    The fact that prices go nuts and stay nuts says the market will bear higher prices. The question is the bottom cost of maintaining a production line, and where is the sweet spot for volume vs price.

    I joined the impossible project when they started. I’ve bought about 60-70 packs on the SX70 & 600 type stuff. I got some of their 8*10 film as a pre-release. They seem to be surviving. I certainly have sent more than a few K a year to contribute. The products steadily get better, but they are not the products I most desire.

    I want a cheap and reliable pack film to use as a sanity check on the 4*5.

    I want a solid performing 8*10 color instant film for image transfer. I want a 4*5 p/n film like the old type 55.

  • Michael Filler

    I am planning on building a 4*5 back based on a Polaroid SX70 or a OneStep At least I can get the Impossible Project film

  • Jeff McCrum

    Here’s the link for those that want to join in:

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