We Are All "Living Publicity" for Analog
Ken has really hit on something here. We APs have an opportunity (a duty?) to promote analog photography any time a curious person inquires as to what the heck we're doing. It's the perfect moment that the most expensive ad agencies in the world beat their heads against the wall to create.
Originally Posted by Ken Nadvornick
It's gotten to the point that a photographer who carries around just about any traditional camera (even a 70s era SLR ... which I regularly do carry around) can attract a question or a comment from passersby who just can resist knowing, "is film still made for that?" Or, "can you still get pictures developed for that?" WHAT an opportunity... although, in all honesty, I used to hate it.
The larger the format, the worse (better?). Nowadays, whenever I venture out into the streets of Paris with a Rolleiflex, I've got to keep the thing covered to avoid stares (it has really started to bother me .."I am not an animal!") I was getting used to it, however when I pop the hood open to focus on something and people begin to photograph me photographing ...now I'll just stop and ask them to come over and take a look into the camera. I explain how it works —which, as Ken pointed out, helps to promote our cause— and then hope they'll go away sooner than they ordinarily would so I can shoot without constraints! (exceptions: when the subject or light is about to disappear or when the tourist just giggles and runs away). I usually end my "demo" by planting a seed of curiousity (thanks to the fact that they can't see the photo right away): "You should see the difference between a good film-based image compared with a digital image". A couple of these contacts have stayed in touch with me, particularly one young lady who eventually bought an old Yashica-mat and now develops her own film. As well, I've held "Café Photo" sessions, inviting young film shooters to come, meet, speak with, see work of— French photojournalists who also shoot film.
Back to the question of curious onlookers: given the fact that many or most of the questions from them are roughly the same, I've even thought of printing-out some FAQ sheets to keep on me. Anyone else have this idea? Perhaps we could even make up a list of questions & answers right here in this thread from which we could create a little "brochure" for the promotion of film use (HEY! BTW...Why hasn't the likes of Ilford already done this??) Anyway, in it we could staple one of our own, "real" silver-based photographs, to show the difference create a keepsake that'd linger around the house and perhaps incite the questioner to try analog for themselves. As well, we could leave our contac info and the invitation to "feel free to ask me further questions" ... Any thoughts?