Yes, you're quite correct. With one (fairly feeble) exception my suggestions are purely aimed at creating (or at least maintaining) demand.
Originally Posted by firecracker
My point is that with that demand there will be supply.
Ilford have restructured to meet the lower demand and are not only profitable but bringing out new products and restarting production of old ones. Kentmere are doing well. There are other threads on the forums about Agfa and Maco IR films making a comeback. Fuji stated their commitment to film a while back.
If demand dwindles away to next to nothing then, true enough, supply will dwindle right along with it. IMO the best way to ensure that high quality materials are available for future generations is to support the existing manufacturers of those products by -
- Buying and using their products
- Opening channels of communication between the manufacturers and APUG
- Raising the public profile of film photography by getting out there and being seen in numbers using traditional equipment
These are realistic positive actions that can be taken right now by any member of APUG.
I think the successful takeover and operation of a coating plant or high-quality / consistency home-coating of film is a much taller order, would be limited to a very small minority of the APUG membership and (while I understand your intentions are honourable) may not be turn out to be the best way of helping traditional photography.
The destination is important, but so is the journey
Frank, I went back and read your post again. Those are all good points.
Originally Posted by FrankB
Originally Posted by copake_ham
Yes George, this earlier statement of yours:
"Perhaps the real issue exposed in this thread is that non-35mm shooters here are now prepared to toss us off the lifeboat to "save the rest". Once you do so, who's next? "
This statement implies that emulsion makers are going to pitch 35mm overboard, and I was answering that implication. We are not going to do it by choice, but if we coat our own, 35mm will go out. We will have to revert to pre-35mm LF and MF days. Even MF will be threatened in the sense that roll film will be difficult to make.
As for using motion picture, I would say that Kodak and others will stay in film as long as film motion picture is around. The minute motion picture film sales start the drop that is being seen in consumer films then motion picture will vanish as well.
Now to address the issue of "What happens to equipment when big companies shut things down".
Here are a few answers to that.
The equipment is so confidential, it is scrapped.
It is worth more as scrap than you can pay to own it.
It is anchored to the company property on concrete posts to prevent movement and prevent defects. You cannot pay enough to move it and the company won't let you use their plant.
So, there are a few reasons. The bottom line is that the equipment is generally either useless or destroyed. Some companies in financial difficulties actually use their equipment until it fails. Then they go out of business because they have no funds for repair.
I have seen the condition of the equipment of some manufacturers as it exists today. It is in pretty bad shape, considering that some was running at the time I saw it.
Kodak has scrapped hundreds of emulsion making positions and about a dozen small coating machines. I cannot even get one piece of them, not a single pump to help me in my work.
That is why, when I say I did something, I can say you can do it too. I did it without help. It turns out that it really can be done without a huge lab. But, I cannot make any of the modern products. That is the sacrifice I pay. It is what we all may pay if film goes away. It will be worse, if no one learns.
Martin is right. Emulsion making is arcane. It is also fun and rewarding.
FrankB, With you all the way mate. Would add get traditional work seen as much as possible, exebitions,local craft fairs even loan prints to hairdressers and cafes to hang on their walls. Also be prepaired to offer your facilities to interestrd people to try anolouge. In my experiance once you have seen your first print come up in the dev dish you are hooked for life.
Prehaps part of the problem is the percived danger of useing chemicals with younsters being taught to be risk addverse from an early age, one cannot after all get selenium poisoning from toneing useing photo shop. Better then to forget the chemistery and emphisise the magic.
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I share your opinion completely. I think increasing the demand is key to maintain the supply, so the self-coating thing doesn't have to occur. The formation of such a facility/company would be great, but from what I'm gathering here from PE and Mr Reed, next to impossible. I had not known this about Ilford- that they are the closest thing out there to our "dream". Even more reason to support them. It's basic economic theory- If I want a steak, I'm not going to raise a cow in my back garden.
Originally Posted by FrankB
Nevertheless, I feel that your third point is going to be difficult on our own. These companies need a more *public* voice- Marketing campaigns can reach alot further than we can as a group. I'd never even heard of Ilford, let alone Kentmere or Efke until I came to APUG, and I'd been a hobby film shooter for years. I always assumed Kodak was *IT*. I was familiar with Fuji as their main competition. I was vaguely aware of AGFA (mostly from watching F1 races and seeing the billboards). You know why- marketing and market presence. There are many film based products out there I *still* know nothing about. I assume I'l learn of them as I evolve as a photographer (if they're still there).
I couldn't agree with you more. It would be great to see materials manufacturers promoting themselves more. We can only do so much to raise awareness, but I do think that we should all do what we can.
Originally Posted by timbo10ca
The destination is important, but so is the journey
Paul- you've got another good point. Getting traditional work seen is also very important. Preferably in the public domain to reach the masses, but even on a smaller scale. I know all of us here do this, but I'll share a small anecdote: I was over at a friend's place the other day and they had wanted to see some of my work, so I brought my meagre "portfolio". A couple wanted copies of pictures, but what I found interesting is that I had 2 examples of the same image- one as a negative scan printed on my printer, and one of the same negative done in my darkroom. There was an obvious preference to the traditional print. I had them also feel the difference between an RC and a Fibre print. They gained a small, new appreciation for what I do. I told them how I have an LF camera on the way as we speak. They couldn't wait to see it, and see photos I make with it. One woman expressed her interest in doing film photography, and they were all dimayed at the prospect of losing film as an artform. This was an older crowd however, and maybe more "artsy" you could say. Whether that's important, who knows.
Originally Posted by Paul.
Regarding your second point, I have also nurtured my sister-in-law toward film (she's 20, and pretty "artsy" too), and she's been taking classes. The chemical side of it never really seemed to be a factor. It wasn't with me either. I'm sure alot of people getting into film don't think they will be developing their own, but I wouldn't know. And if they do, nitrile gloves are cheap and thin enough not to hinder.
What was my point????? Oh yeah- getting work seen is crucial. People need to see and feel the difference to truly appreciate it. We can't just talk about it with them.
When I was a wee tyke, my first photography teacher had one of those, and it was right around the time the film supply for it was drying up; I actually remember him telling me about buying up some of the last rolls available. I seem to recall that we actually did in fact use film cut from sheets in it; I have a picture of me that I'm pretty sure was made that way.
Originally Posted by Alex Hawley
At 53 years old and childless, I concluded after it emerged from receivership that Ilford would be my supplier from now on. It's selfish, but I'm not convinced that first-tier quality black and white Ilford products will disappear before I'm unable to lift a camera. If things start to look bleak before then, I hope Simon and his fellow directors give sufficient notice to permit filling one or more freezers which will last until my end.
Originally Posted by Martin Reed
Ron, what you're trying to accomplish is laudable. Unfortunately, I believe the primary obstacle to your success -- which you'd probably define as a significant number of people possessing the requisite skill and tools to coat their own film/plates and paper -- is the very continued availability of commercial products. You're likely one or two generations too early. While a few folks are currently interested because they love knowledge and craft, most others lack the discressionary time to spend on photographing, much less making photographic materials. In my opinion, only when there are no alternatives left will substantial self-coating activity occur.
Actuarially, I believe neither Ron nor I will be around when that happens. Therefore, I strongly endorse the earlier suggestion. Ron, continue refining your techniques, then document resulting tools and methods in the most graphic detail possible. That would be your best hope to perpetuate chemical photography through future generations.