Do you buy all of your film, camera equipment, and assorted other things from local suppliers or do you look for cheaper alternatives, such as the large mail order stores? Do you have your film processed locally and prints made locally?

By looking for better deals from mail stores and not supporting your local photography distributor you may be buying the high quality products from manufacturers but you are gutting the supply chain and denying local jobs, jobs for people that may be able to support your photography, or to at least support the local economy.

Developing your own film means that there is less film to be developed locally and so those places will shut down. It does not matter that you enjoy developing your own film or that you feel that you have a better process. And because the local photography labs are not printing your photographs they are also closing down, regardless of the pleasure that you experience processing and printing your own photographs.

I do not have any issues with people finding alternatives. I for one, as with most people, have limited budgets for hobbies and I have several expensive hobbies I want to play in. For a professional photographer, and I have done that in the past the client usually also has a limited budget and if your prices are going to greatly exceed that budget then the project will not happen.

Saying that we need to support film based photography by buying high priced commercial products from companies that are too big to reduce their product lines to an economically sustainable level is uncalled for. Why are we happy to just save the film industry and why not go back to demanding that those same companies resurrect old and outdated technologies like dry plate photography as well. And lets also demand that they provide the supplies necessary for us to make our own wet plates. Progress happens. Within a fairly short time frame film based photography will indeed be a real niche area where very few venture. It will be filled with artists and those wanting to do radically different things with a tangible object at the end of the process.

I regret the demise of so many films, but that has been going on to some degree even before digital photography happened. There has always been films discontinued while new films appeared. Although I am again starting to play with 4X5 I do not expect that everyone should be shooting large format nor do I deplore that people have gone to smaller formats and so destroying the rich heritage of large format films. Nor will I move to 5X7 or larger because I get what I want from 4X5 and do not want the weight and bulk of a larger format.

Richard