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This month’s Letter covers four photography projects — some new, some ongoing — and their battle to stay relevant and profitable during the global pandemic. Including another new film from Lomography, Chroma camera, SilvergrainClassics’ online tutorial series, Frenetic City monograph, and the unexpected success of the “I’m Back” project. Also: new film packaging from Analogue Wonderland and why it matters today, a final reminder for Monochrome Unbound submissions, Polaroid week, WWPD, and an evergreen COVID-19 guide.
Above: Zhou’s Kickstarter project, Frenetic City, is “[a] limited edition photobook about one of the most densely populated cities in the world.” His work examines megapolis crowding, a phenomenon that’s presently changing its cultural significance in the context of current events.
Babylon Kino: a super-slow ISO 13 monochrome film from Lomography.
While Babylon isn’t as slow as last month’s Fantôme ISO 8, it is still less sensitive by three stops than ISO 100. It is also a lot less contrasty, making images feel more natural. Shot in bright daylight, it is capable of capturing your lens’ bokeh with gradual transitions between shadows and highlights. Stopped down, it looks similar to JCH StreetPan, which is a much faster film.
“I’m Back” and Chroma Kickstarter projects.
Chroma, “[t]he unique, 4x5 technical camera,” fully-funded two years ago, is reporting production setback due to the impact of the pandemic. Their supplier of laser-cut acrylic parts appears to be unable to deliver. Hopefully, this issue resolves with time as we adapt to “the new normal” of the year 2020.
“I’m Back,” a project that failed spectacularly previously, has garnished close to hundred thousand dollars of its 10K goal, with the numbers creeping up as this is being written, despite the market crashes and having over a month left in the campaign.
SilverGrain Classics, Analogue Wonderland, cardboard, and our planet.
SilverGrain Classics recently rebranded from PhotoKlassik International, began filming tutorials for their YouTube channel. Better known for its fantastic print publication, the organization has been hosting events and classes at their local offices since the founding. Today, they are creating videos from home.
Speaking of which, last November, my issue of the above-mentioned PhotoKlassik magazine came in a specialized cardboard sleeve, designed to protect the issue from bending and scratches. The packaging uses zero plastic and is easy to recycle. A welcome contrast to the sea of bubble wrap, tape, and styrofoam increasingly filling our trash bins as the commerce swiftly moves online. As you may know, plastic recycling is not nearly as efficient as cardboard.
Analogue Wonderland is not to be forgotten when talking about the beautiful packaging. Having mailed heaps of already-fantastic cardboard boxes, AW has recently slimmed them to fit into more mailboxes without requiring handling and added a film holder insert to avoid plastic packaging for small orders.
Having been impacted by the effects of the global pandemic, Analogue Wonderland is, unfortunately, only shipping within the UK. If you happen to be in the area, consider supporting them and your analogue habit using this link. Your first order will come with a free roll of Kentmere 400. In turn, I will get some points towards free film as well.
Last call: “Monochrome at Home.”
As you read this email, there’s just about a day or two left until Friday, May 1st. This is the final day to send in your monochrome images, taken at home, for a chance to win my stash of beautiful Film Ferrania black and white film.
All qualified images and stories will be published in the limited inaugural edition, hand-bound, on 100%-recycled paper. All contributors get a free copy of the zine; all proceeds will be going to charity.
Polaroid week, Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day, and more stay-home advice.
Unaffected but not unchanged, the calendar events inspiring thousands of people to make their own cameras and shoot instant film drew the growing virtual crowd.
Having been swamped by my day job, I couldn’t directly participate, though I did take a few photographs on my SX-70.
Understandably, many of us are forced to stay home, and some are unsure what to do with the extra time or how to keep safe. In an attempt to provide quality, vetted resources and research to the reader, I’ve published “COVID-19 Prevention Advice and Resources.” The frequently-updated guide features the overview of the latest scientific research on pathogen safety, financial aid resources for artists, help with quarantine boredom, as well as announcements from film manufacturers and small businesses.