I agree that the lack of "in the flesh" meeting leaves something to be desired - but the Web is young and technology will move us in interesting directions. Besides, there is no alternative - sites like this are not "the future", they are our "present time". It's never going to be like it was - but this alternative isn't so bad after all.
I just had a vision of all the posts here being delivered by video instead of the written word. Scary or what?
The whole aspect you're looking for in person is still alive. It was hard to get into my photo class at school because of the sheer amount of applicants. There are still people who enjoy the social atmosphere of the darkroom and studio, it's just rare to find them now. However if you were to come to my town, you'd find a bunch of film photographers.
I get that at a camera shop I've been going to recently. I found them after buying a TLR from their booth at a photo fair at the beginning of May. Since then I've bought two more TLRs from them and get all my film developed through them.
If you do digital here in Japan you don't need to talk to anyone- just plug your memory card into the appropriate slot on these big machines and push some buttons, then the photos come out at the bottom.
I always go in to drop off/pick up film but end up spending at least half an hour in there just shooting the breeze. The old guys seem to appreciate someone my age being into TLRs so much.
I used to go to my local camera club a lot and I count some of the people I have met there among my best friends. But, with four kids, my spare time is not what it used to be...
APUG has given me the opportunity to meet other film photographers here in Oslo, and the exchanges that run gives me the pleasure of getting a personal print or postcard from others around the world. And I enjoy the possibility of sending (showing) my work to others.
So, if anyone happens to go by Oslo, give a shout and hopefully we could grab a beer, talk about photography and combine the digital and analog world.
That's what I LOVE about APUG! In the limited travelling I have done I have had the opportunity to meet some very nice APUGGERS. If I were to go to Norway I would definitely let you know. And that goes for any apug people that come and visit Vancouver Island. I love showing other apuggers the beauty of my island!
I share the nostalgic feelings. I have always developed my own work (I own a studio). However, I fondly remember the old now closed local camera store. Near the front window they had an old Dr. Pepper soda machine. The type that you opened the lid on top and slid out your choice thru a maze of slots. I used to park in back in the alley (no parking meter there), enter thru the back of the store where they had their warehouse, pick up my paper and chemicals on the way to the front..stop at the refrigerator for my 8x10 Ektachrome. Get to the front, get a soda, and chat with the owners, or any photographer that used to be hanging out. Ah, those were the days. Now I have to get all my supplies by mail order. The only local photo store is almost pure digital and dull. At the old store, if you regularly used a certain item, they would stock it for you. Not now at the current photo store...no way.