I thought it would be worth to post the link to this contribution appeared in Popular Photo last week.There are a few featured photographers in this article, among them Michael Massaia, Dina Kantor and others. While from the technical point of view there are no new statements made to us, analog photographers, it's just nice that some things get reminded once in a while; even for contemporary professionals, film has some distinct advantages. The biggest one today is surely standing out of the crowd of the digital majority, because film has its own specific look. Take it to your advantage!
Fujifilm is going to discontinue Velvia 100F in all formats, and Velvia 50 sheet films; this is the sad news arrived yesterday. The reasons are known-decreased sales, see the link. The good news (so to say) is that it won't happen until the end of this year, so we still have time to stock up. I just hope they'll keep both Provia films in production. For Velvia 50, I think, we don't need to worry too much about (for roll films)-it's just too popular, given also the fact that Kodak Ektachrome is gone...To me, this is not the worst news, since I was already hit when they discontinued Astia. To me, Astia was the most gorgeous slide film ever made. Ever! Even for landscape! Fortunately, I did stock it up in my freezer, and it should last for some years. Maybe the future production of color film will be based on pre-orders and once the quota will be fullfilled, the production run will be made, who knows. Certainly this is not nice, in our view, but it will change dramatically our approach in buying and consuming "silver goods". Nonetheless, vinyl LPs are also produced in a similar way today, yet they thrive.
Production of photo emulsions is a tricky business; you may have the formula, but the hardware used (mixers, heaters, glasware etc.) also plays a major role in the final outcome. So it is a huge endeavour to reproduce (more or less) exactly the same product-emulsion from the known formula only. The former Hungarian Forte Polywarmtone paper is thus no exception. Polywarmtone paper used to be a big favorite among many photographers worldwide; not only due to its pleasant warm image tone (hence, its name!), but also because it was a wonderful material to tone and even for lith printing.Sadly, as many other photo manufacturers, Forte company closed its doors as well. Its rapid decline began in the early 2000's, the company faced bankruptcy and the production line was dismantled. (I could rant about this for hours, but I'll spare this for another occasion). Anyway, the hardware for making photo emulsions for the new facility owners proved to have little or no value. Fortunately, this sad story comes to a happy end. The German company Adox decided to acquire the hardware used for »cooking« the Polywarmtone emulsion, to repair it, and to move the whole production line to their facility in Bad Saarow (near Berlin). This effort took some time and costs, due to unexpected problems, but at last, the »resurrectors« of Polywarmtone finally made it happen! The most interesting part, to me, is that they made the whole production line about 4 times more compact (in terms of space required) as it used to be.
|The "compacted" Polywarmtone emulsion production line. Image retrieved from www.polywarmton.com|
Thus, the production line was quite easily moved from Hungary to Germany by truck. Adox started in 2010 to take preproduction orders for the first batch of paper and they are still open. Now, they are at the last stages before the real production. A pilot batch has been made. Although it didn't come as it should be, they know why it didn't! So, keep our fingers crossed, for the first batch of Polywarmtone to be made soon! Their ongoing activity can be found on this link, where a related blog can be found as well. Hopefully, we'll see soon the Polywarmtone paper reborn, much like the Phoenix is reborn from its own ashes!
p.s. this is by no means an advertising post, I just wanted to express my sympathy to Adox' endeavors!
The quarterly, Vancouver-based SAD magazine decided to source their images only from analog photos, by this year. While I applaud such a decision, I must admit I didn't fully understand the explanation Kevin Kerr gave about that decision in this article. It 's somehow an alchemistic point of view, in my view (sorry for the pun). But a good point about that decision, in my opinion, is this: "I think a certain amount of satisfaction of knowing that Sad Mag is going to be returning to film is imagining the quality of the experience of not only the viewer, but of the photographer." Good point, Kevin! Considering the magazine is dedicated to young artists, that will be a good way to nurture the appreciation for film.
I just found this nice contribution on the Lomography site . I think it's not just yet-another-good-news for the analog community, in terms of our "survival" or just some lifestyle stuff. This story clearly shows analogue photography is not only a goal by itself, it's also a pleasant means for people to stay connected. Luckily, there are many other similar stories like this one. These stories need to be shared. Photos of their gathering can be found here.