Film Photography News — December 2020 Recap

My Five “Predictions” for Film Photography in 2021

3 min read by Dmitri.
Published on . Updated on .

☞ Get “Community Letters” via email: a monthly overview of the latest news, events, and stories from the film photography community.

What’s new?

Five new products are launching this December, including Adox’s B&W slide developer that can turn any monochrome emulsion into a positive, new chems from CineStill, InstantKon SF70 from MiNT, Yama Camera from Japan Camera Hunter, and an upcoming Intrepid 35mm & 120 Enlarger.

Note: All links in the above paragraph lead to external websites.

The continued innovation within our creative community, particularly during this undeniably challenging year, is truly heartening. Just look at all the new cameras, new scanning accessories, new film, and new chems released in 2020!

My five “predictions” (bets) for film photography in 2021. 🔮

There’s plenty more to say about 2020, but I think it’s better that I save that for my therapist. Instead, I’d like to try something a little more fun this year — a game of sorts.

Let’s begin! 👇

This year, I shot 1,524 frames. After a few days of sifting through that pile, this Portra 400 scan, made with my Minolta TC-1’s beautiful 28mm lens, revealed itself to me as the most appropriate banner for this end-of-the-year post. Something about going through a tunnel, surrounded by a dark void.

#1: 2021 will see more print products — zines, magazines, and photobooks.

With the international borders closed and much travel restricted, I suspect many of us spent some extra time in front of a screen. Unfortunately, the 2020 internet has been running extra-wild with nasty, which may have impacted the experience.

My guess is that the pandemic pushed more creatives to consider offline publishing as a valuable alternative for self-expression.

As of this writing, on December 28, there are 51,884 publishing projects on Kickstarter. I bet that this number be even higher in 2021.

#2: 2021 will see more Eggleston-esque photography.

In 2020, we photographed a wild time in human history. I think that the pandemic forced many of us to find new ways to stay creative while stuck at home.

I bet that in 2021 we’ll see more Eggleston-esque photography, which I mean as creative interpretations of the mundane. This one will probably be difficult to prove or judge, so let’s just say there will be more such essays published on this website than in 2020.

#3: 2021 will see more film photography in mainstream reporting.

Two huge events saw coverage in mainstream publications on film this year. One is a photo essay from the COVID-19 triage frontlines, published by The Guardian. The other is the impeachment proceedings, which David Burnett notoriously photographed with his custom large format camera.

I bet that we’ll see more of that in 2021.

#4: 2021 will see less new film.

The past three years were fantastic for film photography: we saw Kodak and Fuji relaunch old classics, a few brand-new emulsions, and tons of repackaged goods. Even the crazy ol’ 2020 gave us 1, 2, 3 new emulsions.

However, due to the travel restrictions and the likely disruptive changes to the chemical and component supplies, my bet is that 2021 will see fewer new film products.

#5: 2021 will see no film discontinuations.

A long shot, but my intuition suggests that raising film prices, combined with the still-growing interest in analogue imaging may be enough to keep all of the options on the table. I hope I’m right.

So long, 2020!