Quote Originally Posted by lxdude View Post
Film was not cheap when I started in photography 38 years ago. Houses, fuel, cars, all have increased more than film.

I think we also need to consider what photography is worth in the rewards it gives us. I used to be criticized by people I knew because I drove an older car but bought new photo equipment. I saw some of them buy much more car than they needed, just to impress people. I don't care to impress people, and was not about to spend hard-earned cash to "keep up" with someone else.
I think I was more sensible than they were, but what it really comes down to is, do what makes you happy. They would take on debt to have a fancy car or truck, because that made them happy. My idea of happiness is much different: good equipment, plenty of film, and the time to shoot it.

When I was young and poor, I shot Kodachrome, and I had to discipline myself to make every shot count. I did experiment, but always with a clear purpose. Today, I still do try to make every shot count. Film is not prohibitively expensive; it's just whether the reward is great enough to make it worth the cost. To me it is, and I don't mind giving something else up to afford it, if that's what it takes.

As a hobby, film photography is not more expensive compared to others. Try skydiving, or motorcycling, or fishing, or even ceramics. Or the business I was in for years, golf. If the passion is there, people find a way to do it.
Exactly. Plenty of people have much more expensive hobbies.

I do sympathize with folks who really can't afford or struggle to afford materials. I've been there in high school and college. But we will never help film survive by trying to make it cheap. We will help it survive be emphasizing the qualities and craft involved. It must be promoted among those who can afford it without worry about the cost. That's the only way the market is going to remain.

Manufacturers shouldn't fret about it but make the best materials they can possibly make, then charge what they need to charge to make a fair profit on them. Obviously there's a point where this wouldn't be true, for example if someone could market a paper that's marginally better than the second best paper but costs $10 per 8x10 sheet. But if you are anywhere near market prices, make a superior product and people will buy it. Witness Ilford's MGWT FB paper and Multigrade Art 300 papers. These are some of the most expensive papers available on the market, yet MGWT FB is wildly popular and Art is becoming popular. MGWT is perhaps the finest conventional fiber paper I've ever printed on. I currently use it when I want a warmer tone and Adox MCC 110 when I want a neutral tone, and that paper too is some of the most expensive available. Both are worth it.

Make it superb, charge what you need to charge, promote film among those who can afford to pay what it costs. This doesn't mean, of course, that one is unsympathetic or discouraging to those who can't. Perhaps groups can get together and buy in larger quantities. People can discuss techniques for saving materials. More importantly, people will learn to make each shot and each print count.