Analogue Photography in the XXI Century

A Guide to Film Photography in Lithuanian

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Film photography is an international pastime. Analogue cameras make the day of the good people on all continents. Film isn’t just an English-speaking thing; it is a global phenomenon that’s been on the rise for years.

“Analogue Photography in the XXI Century: The Art, Style or the Lifestyle?” by Andrej Špilevoj.

However, shooting film is a somewhat different experience in places like Lithuania, where it’s recently become harder to find and more expensive. But despite the costs and the challenges, Andrej remains in love with the medium.

This book is his guide for anyone looking to step up their photography game from something like a mobile device.

I’ve read Andrej’s book using Google Translate by pasting paragraphs into the app one at a time. A cumbersome experience though I still found it worth the effort. His illustrations are beautiful, and the visual comparison of the overexposure latitudes is fascinating.

Andrej’s book starts off with the story of his passion for film photography. He talks about why it may be a good choice to try — financially and creatively. However, most of the read is practical, starting with the basics of making manual exposures, extending into lens/film/camera choices, topped off with two experiments: a blind comparison of film labs and film vs. digital dynamic range side-by-side charts.

Although cameras and chemicals work identically worldwide, the story of film revival in Lithuania is a little different.

The revival of this ancient medium hit Lithuania about five years ago. But the recent increasing costs* and scant availability of film — in part due to COVID — seem to have put a damper on its new beginnings. The wait times at the labs can sometimes stretch for up to six months, Andrej explains. Same with ordering film from overseas. In fact, despite being OK for money, Andrej still has to limit his film consumption to 35mm in monochrome to avoid the headaches of scant access.

✱ — Andrej compared the costs of film + dev to about four hours spent at work, earning an average Lithuanian wage. About €20.

Nevertheless, Andrej argues that trying out a pro film camera (of which there’s over 100 years’ worth of used finds) is still cheaper than a pro digital. His book is simultaneously a guide through that journey and a spotlight on a medium that may still have potential in Lithuania once we get through the pandemic and film manufacturers increase their production scale.

This book is free to read.

Andrej has kindly allowed me to host his book on this website for anyone with a free Analog.Cafe account.

 Free Download: Analogue Photography in the XXI Century: The Art, Style or the Lifestyle? (PDF)