This is great no put downs yet!
I am just an odd ball... (or a 45 year old hipster), but still use some film, built my own sailboat, I do ride a single speed fixed gear bike from time to time, I don't drink enough to care or talk inteligently about what I drink, and lastly I do buy old $2 and $3 jazz albums to listen to on the Marantz. I CAN tell the difference between a MP3 file and analog recording (aside the clicks and pops).
I also consider myself an armchair economist. I do worry what global calamaty man-made or otherwise with put the economy further in the tank (who knows this might help film photography or NOT). The current upward blip in film use will either level off or fall off (I predict the later). I do think Ilford might be around the longest... and Adox and the other niche people will raise prices because of shrinking but devoted demand into the next decade.
PE might open a film coating business with his grand-kids sometime in the next decade.
I know there will be some interesting information to be had at this event, so well worth the effort to attend I reckon.
I don't see all this doom and gloom here at all. When I enter the Optics shop under my parent's house, I see the ordinary assortment of films. When I buy one (I bought some negatives there) they just give me the film, there is no chat about how rare it is to find people who uses film, that means it is not rare. Pretty much everywhere you can have your films developed by a commercial laboratory, be they slides or negative.
Last time I went to my "professional" laboratory to bring slides to develop (that must have been summer 2007) I asked them how business was going regarding film, and they told me it was going as strong as ever, they did not notice any sign of crisis (!).
When I go around taking pictures some film aficionado chats me up, but I never saw anybody "intrigued" by the use of a film camera, and I do see other people with film cameras around.
Film cameras are certainly more widespread than tripods, and nobody is fearing the end of the tripod industry. Looking into the future is hard. I have no crystal ball myself, but I would not bet at all on the end of film for the next 100 years. Certainly a restricted offer for some years, but the end, no, not at all.
Well I personally think that film, at least B&W, will outlive me. I mean, it becomes more and more prevalent to see people my age on here setting up their own darkroom, learning how to do the analouge stuff. The whole thing about hipsters is slightly true, but then again, its not just the hipsters. Digital makes sense for the people who want instant results (90% of the population), but for all the romanticists, nothing can beat the beauty of analouge. I personally will never buy a digital camera. If I can no longer shoot film, i will no longer shoot at all. If they do stop producing film, i will probably start coating my own. But i really think that B&W film will stick around. I believe that kodak will be down to like 2 or 3 B&W films, and 2 color films, there will still be many of the re-branded stuff (arista, etc.), but i think ilford will dominate the market, which is fine by me, they have the best films, in my opinion. Either way, i think film will still be around forever. Especially the large format, considering a 4x5 negative is equivalent to about 150 megapixels, and the cost is so incredibly small compared to a digital back, it's cheaper to buy a scanner and a ton of film. Anyways, look at how many users there are on here, almost 50,000 the counter says right now. So theres some proof that film will stick around, there will always be people like you and me. The day they stop making film will be the saddest day of my life.
The fact that there is little demand and high prices for enlargers and scanners, and silver gelatin paper doesn't help much either.
I wish people would give the 20-somethings, hipsters or not, a break. Support them, don't dis them. Be nice and encouraging. Some of them will tire of photography at some point and find other things that interest them, but some of them you'll meet on these forums eventually.
My 20's were a long time ago, but I was shooting film back then and I don't recall getting anything but encouragement from the other film shooters I ran into. That was pre-internet. Maybe people were nicer then?
People nowadays have more technological options than previous generations, and it's also the case that some new technologies are maturing. Somebody who grows up in this environment, or takes advantage of it, is a hipster.
A hipster is often a derogatory term for someone who is bold enough to take advantage of the vast technological options available to him. You can tell this because of the way the term is applied.
If a person indulges enthusiastically in the newest new technology (iPad, smart phones, bluetooth headset, twitter, etc) then they are not necessarily a hipster because people have historically used the latest technology and liked it, because it has always been better. To the older generations, it's a given that new technology will come out, and you will use it, and the old technology will become obsolete and become unavailable. So someone who uses the latest technology just because it's newer is not a hipster. There are lots of old people like this, and they aren't hipsters.
If a person indulges enthusiastically in old technology for some reason and avoids new technology, that person is just a luddite. There are lots of old people like this, and they aren't hipsters.
If a person looks around him, sees the largest amount of technological options available to him that have ever been available to a person in history, and uses or doesn't use those technological options according to his own whims and vision, or sometimes, fashion, that person is jealously labeled a hipster. Someone who wears canvas Vans(1980s technology) while tweeting on his iPad (2010 technology) with a Holga (20th century technology) around his neck while driving his SMART carb (2000s technology) to the skatepark to pick up some vinyl records (1930s-1980s technology) that he found on craigslist (1990s technology) can be called a hipster, because he lives in period which is a post-technology explosion. He doesn't use or wear the newest. He doesn't use or wear the oldest. He doesn't listen to or play the newest music or the oldest music based on some kind of generational allegiance. He does whatever he wants.
A hipster is usually young, because young adults are more flexible than old adults who are set in their ways, but they have more freedom than children who do what they see others doing.
The idea of a "hipster" is just a manifestation of generational jealousy. It's also evidence of a post-internet age, post Moore's law technological slowing.
In the 1980's CDs sounded the death knell for vinyl. A guy I know bought the last record pressing plant in Australia and established Corduroy Records. Everyone said he was mad. Then along came techno and DJs everywhere wanted to spin and scratch and mix it up. He couldn't keep up with demand, even though techno was his least favourite form of music. Something similar will happen to film.
Read 'The Long Tail' by Chris Anderson, former editor of Wired Magazine. This medium- the internet- allows people to sell to the tail, not just to the mainstream. Let the digi-folks have the mainstream. Retail shops have finite floor space and they have to cater to the mainstream. The film tail is wagging online with a whole lot of smaller companies, facilitated by internet distribution, doing reasonably well. Those with the imagination, like Nick at Corduroy Records, will go far in their niche, however tiny it is.