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Three personal anecdotes regarding the state of film today


I walked into a pharmacy in New York City and saw a bunch of Kodak disposable cameras. An aside: in Japan, you can buy disposable cameras pre-loaded with 1600 speed film—how brilliant. So here's the message on the display case:


  • you forget your digital camera
  • your memory card is full
  • you don't want to risk your camera

Never miss a shot

Kodak Single Use Cameras

Pros and cons here, folks. Yes, it's sad that someone in Kodak's marketing department thought (realized?) that a way to sell film would be to target the market of "people who forgot their digital camera." But I'm glad to see that they recognize the value of never missing a shot, which is what I currently use to underpin my argument for toy cameras.


I walked into a photo store in Long Island, foolishly hoping to get a roll of 120 format film developed. It turns out that the woman doesn't even process 35mm film anymore! She said it wasn't worth the cost of ordering chemicals and keeping them fresh to only develop a roll here and there.


I recently went to Camera Heaven, a photo store in SF's Tenderloin. (If you don't know what that is you can check out this dude's Holga snaps of the loin or TL as we call it. I'm conflicted about his stuff in general but there's no question it works as documentary.) After looking on ebay for a Gossen Luna Pro SBC light meter and getting impatient, I called up the guy there up to see if he happened to have one lying around... which he did.

So I went down to pick it up, and as we were talking I asked him how business for film stuff was. He said it was great, and even laughed a little as he told me that some of his friends in the photo store business had switched over to digital a couple of years ago, only to find now that film was coming back strong. He repairs cameras for other stores, and apparently he gets more film cameras in now than digital ones. "Hey, I've been here for five years," he said. If he can afford to laugh, maybe there's some hope. Not that digital's "bad," of course...

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