January ‘21 Community Letter

New Book, New Film, Discontinued 400H, and Much, Much More

7 min read by Dmitri.

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What’s new?

35mm film got a little cheaperwho would’ve thought! — sadly, the good news comes as Fujifilm discontinues its entire 400H line.

Analogue Wonderland announces its UK Film Photography Community Fund, a year-long analogue project spotted on the National Geographic website, and I am launching a new book: Moscow Dayze.

Also, a new spot meter from Reveni Labs, a new sustainability-driven darkroom, Ilford’s Multigrade RC Portfolio paper, and Street Candy’s MTN 100 film. ⤵️

New book: Moscow Dayze.

How often do you visit your childhood home? Is it still yours, does it belong to someone new, or is it gone?

1999 was the year I moved from my grandparents’ cramped apartment in Moscow to live in Toronto. But unlike most of my immigrant friends, I’ve never gone back.

Until 2020, just before the pandemic changed everything.

The feeling of returning to a childhood home after spending twenty years in a radically different culture is very intense. Amplified by personal loss, this powerful experience has defined every word, every photograph in my debut 74-page photobook: Moscow Dayze.

Moscow Dayze is a home-printed, hand-bound photobook with a beautiful cardstock spine, quality sustainably-sourced paper. Assembled and shipped with zero plastic and minimal packaging. Featuring a free-form layout and lots of full-page spreads stretching to 16” ✕ 11” (40cm ✕ 28cm), this is my most intimate, most ambitious project to date.

Reserve your copy on Kickstarter today. 🔖

Five copies are available at the “early bird” price (~$32) with lots more tiers and rewards. This Kickstarter will only run for 19 days!

35mm film got a little cheaper.

Even though film manufacturers are pretty good at communicating their price changes, the actual amount we pay at the counter may not immediately connect to those announcements. Retailers may “eat” some of the new expenses or mark up their products depending on their needs.

Throughout 2020, Kodak and Ilford announced multiple price hikes; still, I found that none of that has translated into increased costs at the storefront during the past six months — yet. My findings are based on surveying eight stores and comparing their current prices against the last year’s charts. I track 34 rolls in six currencies in the 35mm Film Price Guide and report those findings semi-annually via this email newsletter.

The gist: 12% price drop on CineStill 800T. Lomochrome Purple, Kosmo Foto Mono, Pan F, Acros II, Velvia 50/100, and Fujifilm Provia all went down in price significantly.

Fujifilm discontinues Pro 400H.

Fujifilm announced its discontinuation of Fujicolor Pro 400H emulsion this month. Blaming their inability to source specialized raw materials for the emulsion’s unique fourth layer, the company ceased all sales and production of 35mm rolls as of January 14, 2021.

In medium format, Fujifilm expects to continue allocating their supplies until the end of the year, based on “recent customer demand.”

Naturally, this demand is growing as hoarders from all over the world are ordering their packs for deep-freeze.

The photography community will miss the dense colour chemistry of Pro 400H and its punchy teal-pink pallettes. So much for my “prediction.”

Fujifilm Fujicolor Pro 400H.

UK Film Photography Community Fund.

If you’re in the UK🇬🇧, Paul from Analogue Wonderland has got some wonderful news for you. A community fund, powered by donations from kind customers, has got an official start. Individuals and organizations that have an idea benefitting the film photography community can apply for grants between £250 and £1,500 heremake sure to read the complete rules first. The deadline is January 31, 2021; the funds will be split between one to six winning entries.

Some example projects listed are a community darkroom, 3D-printed camera accessories, film clubs, and night courses. Or how about a magazine, a book, a journalistic expedition (lockdowns permitting)?

New spot meter, sustainability-driven darkroom, Ilford’s Multigrade RC Portfolio paper, and Street Candy’s MTN 100 film.

Reveni Labs has announced its launch of a 1.5° digital spot meter this February: “Designed with large format field photography in mind, it’s extremely compact size and light weight make it a perfect choice for photo hiking trips. It’s also glasses-friendly as it works from up to 1.5” (37mm) from the eye. There’s a lanyard loop on the bottom for a wrist or neck strap.”

The 3D-printed spot meter is expected to retail at $177.

Northern Sustainable Darkroom is a UK community project by Edd Carr and Emma Bentley-Fox, tasked with inventing and advocating for safer, more sustainable film chemistry. Edd outlines his research findings on 35mmc; his current focus is finding an alternative to gelatine base for emulsions.

Despite an entire year of pandemic-related challenges, Ilford is starting its 2021 with a bang. The company has announced its new photographic paper product: Multigrade RC Portfolio. The paper is designed to have a thicker base, giving the prints a more posh feel, plus it dries much flatter. For more details, checkout out this Emulsive article.

Street Candy, a company that packages its 35mm film canisters in recycled cardboard shells, has added an ISO 100 black and white film to its portfolio. Priced at €8.90 a roll, this panchromatic emulsion is expected to ship this April. Preorders are taken directly on Street Candy’s website.

Film photography in mainstream media.

Even though film can now be processed on the go with Lab-Box and quickly scanned via FilmLab, these advancements aren’t nearly enough to compete with the swiftness of a DSLR. Modern reporters are forced to contend with Twitter — a real-time viral distribution platform, where a split-second can spell a huge difference in audience attention. But is this really what reporting is, telling the story first, no matter what?

Denzel’s one-minute clip from the 2016 interview is a good thought piece on the value of journalism:

What is the long-term effect of too much information? One of the effects is the need to be first, not even to be true anymore. So what is the responsibility you all have? To tell the truth. Not just to be first but to tell the truth. We now live in a society where now it’s just “first,” who cares, get it out there; we don’t care whom it hurts, whom it destroys, we don’t care if it’s true. Just say it, sell it. Anything you practice you’ll get good at — including BS.

Looks like Denzel isn’t the only person who thinks our news cycles have become too fast, too swindled. Some thoughtful reporters are beginning to use film in their assignments — a sure sign of prioritizing craftsmanship over immediacy.

Last year, David Burnett famously brought his large format camera to photograph Trump’s first impeachment. David Collyer published his photo essay in The Guardian, “All in a day’s work: the coronavirus crisis in a rural district general hospital.”

This year, I “predicted” we’d have more news on film — and we are to a good start: Louie Palu had 800+ rolls of film edited for his 2021 story in the National Geographic: The slow-burning crisis that sparked the Capitol violence was right before our eyes.”