Film Photography News — December 2021 Recap

Win a Camera, New Film, RA-4 Positives, and My Five “Predictions” for 2022

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

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What’s new?

In this last month of 2021 (what a year it has been!), ORWO teases new film for still photographers, huge RA-4 positives make for giant instant photos, Kodak launches a disposable camera with TRI-X 400, and I review my past year’s predictions + make new ones for 2022. 🔮

Also, photography exhibitions in Germany: That’s My World in Frankfurt and Michael Nguen’s Munich show selections on Analog.Cafe.

☝️ Reminder: Submit your feedback to WIN the incredible Bolsey Model C 35mm TLR camera! You’ve got until January 1st, 2022. Details here.

A piece of Orwochrom UT 18 slide film.

ORWO returns to film.

My parents used ORWO-branded slide film around the time they got married in USSR. Thankfully and despite having been stored in a dusty box for decades, the film remains intact.

Summer in USSR on Orwochrom UT 18.

It was hard work restoring the scratched-up, dust-covered slides but seeing the results come up after all those years was a heartwarming experience.

It feels good to know that the brand that made my family’s memories possible is about to return to producing film again.

For now, it’s all “coming soon;” according to Kosmo Foto, we may see a new colour cine film in 2022 and, perhaps, another something specifically for still photographers.

Moscow Dayze on Twitter.

Speaking of the old memories, film, and USSR, I’d like to quickly mention Moscow Dayze (a book I print) and the response it recently received on Twitter. If you haven’t heard of it yet, it is a 76-page premium hand-made, eco-friendly photobook about my crazy pre-pandemic trip to Moscow, Russia.

The current 2nd edition looks like this:

And here’s what the people (who bought a copy) had to say about it:

“Dmitri, Moscow Dayze is so very well done. A brilliant photo essay interspersed with an intimate look at your personal history with your native country. Thank you for publishing this work.”

— @ericpikephotos

“It looks amazing! I’m glad I got a chance to buy one. I’m looking forward to it. Cheers!”

— @Rocket_Len

There are three copies left of the 2nd edition and seven copies of the 1st edition from the current batch. Get yours today if you’d like to treat yourself to some genuine art this January.

You can learn about what it took to make this book on Twitter and check out a few free chapters and page shots.

RA-4 positives and Tri-X in a disposable.

Did you know that you can cross-process RA-4 paper for printing positives in a darkroom? I didn’t. I was convinced that the last of the reversal paper kind was gone, and I’d never experience the magic of printing my slide film. I was wrong! Although the use that this process has got noticed for in December was something else: an ultra-large format camera medium.

Here’s something else: Kodak released a disposable film camera loaded with the legendary Tri-X black and white film. From what I’ve heard, the product wasn’t received very well — some complained about the environmental impact — although it might just be my social media bubble.

“That’s my World” exhibition in Frankfurt.

If you’re in the area of Frankfurt or Munich this coming spring, you may be in for a treat!

A group exhibition featuring 21 international photographers will take place in Frankfurt between March 5th and April 23rd, 2022. More info about the artists, their work (like the photograph below), and venue can be found here.

This is in addition to Michael Nguyen’s Munich exhibition between March 8th and May 5th.

Robin Yong, Mama Havanna @ Robin Yong, courtsey Apfelweingalerie Frankfurt. For “That’s my World” exhibition.

My five “predictions” for film photography in 2022. 🔮

At last! But before I start guestimating what’s going to happen next year, I’d like to review how I did with my predictions for 2021 in the December 2020 Community Letter:

“2021 will see more print products — zines, magazines, and photobooks.” Last year, I noted 51,884 Kickstarter publishing projects, a number that grew by 3,642 to become 55,526 this year. Given that Kickstarter is nearly 13 years old, the average should be around 4,271, which means I was wrong (at least when it comes to Kickstarter numbers).

“2021 will see more Eggleston-esque photography.” While there’s no way for me to examine every photo taken out there, I was expecting to see a lot more photos taken indoors or free of human presence. That is not what happened. I suppose it’s hard to be inspired by enclosed spaces when the world is in a state of periodical lockdowns.

“2021 will see more film photography in mainstream reporting.” I saw some incredible works shot on film published by major studios and magazines. But I don’t think that happened in a way I predicted either. That’s 3 out of 5 wrong already — I’m getting nervous. 😅

“2021 will see less new film.” I’d love to be wrong about this one. And I am! I’ve announced eight emulsion launches this year, which compares favourably against the 2020’s three or four new films. You probably shouldn’t take my prophecies seriously at this point.

2021 will see no film discontinuations. Wrong again!

Looks like I’ve set myself a really low bar for my 2022 film photography predictions. Perhaps I can be right once or twice next year? Let’s see. 🤞

#1: In 2022, there will be more (i.e., 9+) new film launches. I want to start this coming year on a bold, optimistic note. I think ORWO and Lomography will come through, perhaps Fujifilm will as well, and I expect more indie film brands to launch new emulsions (rebranded or not).

#2: An average price per 35mm roll of film will increase by 20-30% compared to the current US $12.25 per single 35mm/36 roll. Over the past two years, there have been numerous announcements of price increases by the biggest film producers leading to little price change across the board. I think that’s about to turn.

#3: We’ll have a new rangefinder film camera. The technology is still in use by digital camera manufacturers, and there’s certainly demand for new film cameras. We’ve seen Instakon do it; I think it’s time we get a new one in 2022.

#4: No film discontinuations in 2022. I hope Fuji has run out of stocks to cancel and smaller manufacturers continue to benefit from the growing demand for film.

#5: We’ll have a new way to print (chemically). I think that Oliver will take his Pinsta project to the next level, or someone in the community will come up with a new way to print without a darkroom.

What do you think will happen in 2022? @ me on Twitter or send me a line — I’d love to hear your ideas.

Latest on Analog.Cafe.

After Exposure: A Cyclopedia of Broken Cameras is my review of a wonderful book by Nils Bergendal about the passage of old tech through time.

Dynamic Range in Film Photography is a new guide on Analog.Cafe about key photographic concepts: dynamic range and exposure latitude.

Calmness in Sightis a post with selected works by Michael Nguen from his exhibition in Munich that will be held between March 8th and May 5th, 2022. For those of us not able to make it there in time.

Kodak Ektachrome E100 Slide Film is a review of my experience with this incredible film, a few paragraphs on its history, and a healthy dose of technical data (with explanations).

On Thresholds and Snapshots is a thought piece by Danilo Leonardi about his beach stroll along Dovercourt Bay with his Fujifilm GA645zi.

Amid Smoldering California Rocks With Quicksnap 400 is a travel snapshot entry by Peter Reilly from an unusual vacation spot: a desert!

What Is a Rangefinder Camera and How to Use It Well — this article answers one of the first questions I had when I started shooting film. I tried to make it as complete as possible — including history, all kinds of rangefinder devices, how they work, how they should be maintained, and what may be the best way to use one.

Bad Film Simulator 🎞” is my response to a Twitter thread mocking pretend film apps. Bad Film Simulator is a web app that works by applying “effects” to whatever photo you give it — give it a try; it’s free!

How to Shoot CineStill 800T in Daylight — I’m starting to think of this film as my favourite emulsion; its versatility is superb. This guide includes advice for warning filter use and digital colour correction.

🥂 So long, 2021!