Film photography as fashion and the decline of the hipster
Like it or not, various forms of "lo-fi" film photography are a not insignificant source of the market for film right now--the Holga craze of a few years ago, Lomography, plastic cameras as accessories, Instax as a cool thing for teens and twenty-somethings who want to be "different." Of course not everyone experimenting with plastic cameras and the like is just in it to follow the fashion trend--if anything the serious photographers experimenting with chance in the making of art are defining the fashion--but still, the fashionistas constitute a market for film, keeping up demand for acetate base, coating plants, chemicals, and everything that we all need to do analogue photography. Like any fashion, it's going to change, and all those Soviet cameras that were passé in the 1980s will again become passé.
This will affect film photographers, even those who don't identify as "hipsters."
Just to give one example, in Honolulu, the straightforward photo shops no longer sell film, paper, or darkroom supplies. A shop that started out marketing to the Lomography crowd picked up that market, offering a fairly good selection of films, a few kinds of paper, chemicals, used cameras, cyanotype kits, becoming a supplier for photo courses at local universities, an exhibition space, and location for camera swap meets a few times a year. Will they survive the end of the hipster? I hope so.
Well, if beards and tattoos are the price I have to pay to keep film alive then I guess I'll have to keep practicing looking the other way!
I was in Foto Riesel recently (which is probably the closest thing to a pro or proto-hipster ) photo shop in Sydney. The Lomography films had their own special display shelf next to the fridge with all the "proper" film in it! I chatted to the experienced film deveopment guy and we studied the labels for a while trying to figure out which manufacturers were being re-badged. Then I bought some Tri-X. I think it is a temporary blip but it may just extend the life of some films for a little while.
I'm not sure what purpose it serves to identify other people as "hipsters"; except perhaps to allow "serious photographers" to identify themselves as "serious" in contradistinction to those silly bearded tattooed dilettantes ... it all, sadly, feeds the tendency for derision and contempt of "the others" (those that aren't "us")
it's just taking photographs. we don't need to be tribal about it
There we go, exactly what I'm saying.
Pavlov could have made a case-study from APUG.
Another thread for the ignore button ...
You are right on the money, there. Its this perpetual desire to categorize and "other-ize" people that drive this.
Originally Posted by pdeeh
I put this banner on my Facebook page a while back.
I shoot digital when I have to (most of those shots end up here
) and film (occasionally one of those shots ends up here
) when I want to.
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I've noted that Showcase, the big bricks and mortar store here in Atlanta, has a sizable display of "hipster" cameras and film right out in the open. What most of us would call "serious" film is behind the counter, and expensive. By contrast, Wings camera, bricks and mortar and over 100 years old, caters to students and film folks and sells what I would call mainstream film, paper, chemicals, and a fine assortment of used gear, from 35mm to an 8 x 10 view camera I saw there the other day.
I'll agree with Cab Calloway, but let's not degrade Lawrence Welk. Who else was so cool as to have a 'bubble machine'?
Originally Posted by snapguy
Originally Posted by pdeeh
Not only that, some of the work these young people do is far more artistic than the tightly wound up lens and film "tests" often found on this site. Before this era of photography took off, I would have never in a million years guessed the old guard would react the way they have.
Last edited by PKM-25; 06-22-2014 at 10:38 AM. Click to view previous post history.
I have a beard too... Actually I thought the archetype of Apugger would be someone with a beard anyway.
Originally Posted by Tony Egan
If the shop views their reason for being as supplying a market and making a profit, then they will last as long as there is a market.
But, if the shop exists to be an extension of the owner's fashion sense then maybe they will close up when they get bored and decide to move on to other things.
So far as I can tell hipster-ism hasn't quite arrived here, but the camera shops are still selling limited supplies, and still operating their C-41 lines.
But the core market for this stuff existed prior to lomography, and will continue to exist after it fades, at least to some degree or another.