July ‘21 Community Letter

My Book, Dropped In/Out Film, Gadgets, and a Festival

9 min read by Dmitri.

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What’s new?

Happy to present: a new book by yours truly 🥳, a new EZ-400 monochrome film, a new fancy light meter by Negative Supply, a new film development machine, and the Darkroom Festival set for 2022 in Helsinki.

Not so happy to present: Fuji discontinuing Velvia 100 slide film in the USA and Ilford Photo announcing another film price hike.

Moscow Dayze — a hand-made photobook — photographed in Moscow; written, printed & assembled in Canada. Ready to ship worldwide.

Now Shipping: “Moscow Dayze,” a hand-made photobook, documenting culture shock and identity crisis — on film.

Moscow Dayze is a walk through the cold ruins of an immigrant’s childhood city. Brutal, unique, and beautiful.

Set two months before COVID-19 is declared a pandemic, the book tells my story of an immigrant’s identity crisis.

A passion project, the book is assembled by hand, page by page with every image shot on film and meticulously digitized.

The book is home-printed and hand-bound using quality eco-friendly materials.

This 74-page monochrome hand-printed photo story has been featured as Project We Love” on Kickstarter AND everyone who’s read it loves it.

Shipped worldwide, the book is a solid 0.6lb (270g) 8½╳11” (22╳28cm) parcel + rigid plastic-free packaging. All mail deliveries are carbon offset by Etsy.

These books take time and workspace to make, which are in short supply at the moment. There are just 10 copies available for now.

Buy Moscow Dayze on Etsy.

Learn more about Moscow Dayze on its (funded) Kickstarter page, or:

Buy Moscow Dayze on Etsy.

New film: EZ-400 by New Classic.

New Classic is a new film brand by @ribsy__, whose content I am most familiar with from his helpful and friendly reviews and tutorials on YouTube. He often covers and compares different film stocks when scanned and printed in his personal darkroom. I appreciate how he discusses technical nuances that are needed to be known but aren’t often talked about, like: which film brand is better for darker skin, Pro 400H or Kodak Portra 400?

New Classic EZ-400 monochrome 35mm film next to its cardboard sleeve — the only piece of packaging you’ll need to safely store your canister. Image courtesy of New Classic.

This month, Ribsy surprised his viewers with a new film line that features a box-speed ISO 400 monochrome emulsion, packaged in plastic-free cardboard sleeves by Street Candy. EZ-400 is an existing secret film stock by a European manufacturer that features blooming highlights and strong contrast. Sold in 35mm/36exp. format for $6.33 apiece at the New Classic Film Shop with a minimum order of three or $6.20 apiece with a minimum order of five.

The film is already sold out in Europe; North American orders are still being fulfilled. It should also be available for purchase as singles at select retailers later this year.

New Classic EZ-400 35mm film scan. Image courtesy of New Classic.

Negative Supply Light Meter LM1.

Though using point-and-shoots, built-in meters, metering apps, and the good ol’ Sunny 16 are perfectly viable options for exposure measurement, an incident light meter can add a good amount of precision and consistency to your photography.

Image courtesy of Negative Supply.

A new early iPod-sized device by Negative Supply, a brand that got its recognition for its premium film holders, has already exceeded its funding goal 3x on Kickstarter.

Like their earlier products, this one is not cheap: starting at $399 for the aircraft aluminum casing version and topping at $649 for the glossed brass.

The tool is meant to provide colour temperature reports in addition to light metering and USB-C charging. Just like with Film Carrier, Negative Supply is putting a lot of attention into the production quality and longevity of their LM1. It may not be worth the money for someone like me, who likes to use their eyes to estimate light most of the time, but for a working, studio, or a moving picture photographer, a tool that won’t break mid-session may well be indispensable.

Film agitation machine “AuRA.”

Viktor Falendysh, a software developer from Phoenix, AZ, recently funded his film agitation machine on Kickstarter. There are just four days left in his campaign as of this letter’s publishing date, with all of the early-bird $199 copies gone. But you can still get yours for $259+.

Kickstarter campaign screenshot.

This tool has a very straightforward use, which is to agitate your film tanks and save some time and effort. Though stand development and an alarm clock can be done with the same level of minimal development, that technique often changes the way the film looks and may not be desirable in your case.

Viktor’s machine isn’t as cheap as hand and arm power; one could even notice that it’s essentially a motor and control for it. But if your hands are tied up, this device looks like a quality, reliable solution that could free you some time and effort.

Helsinki Darkroom Festival 2022.

2020 and 2021 have been positively detrimental to photography festivals, meetups, and celebrations. But we’ve adapted, and some of those who are lucky enough to receive a vaccine shot are beginning to plan in-person conjugations. That is exactly what Helsinki Darkroom Festival is prepping to do in 2022.

Organized by the Finnish Darkroom Association, Helsinki Darkroom Festival is open for submissions to everyone who shoots film worldwide.

Winners will have their work exhibited at the Finnish Museum of Photography from January to April 2022. There’s a “cash prize” — an artist fee of €500 — plus an “allowance of up to 1,000 euros.”

The submission fee is €25 and the rules boil down to “recent film photography.”

The mission of Helsinki Darkroom Festival is to bring to light the various reasons and methods of doing analog photography. In this Open Call, we are looking for artists who are passionate about their analog practice in today’s digitalised world. In jurying, the emphasis is on the artistic vision. We want to see self-awareness and ambition in producing contemporary photographic works. There are no limitations as to the theme of the submissions.

For the complete rules and submission form, head over here.

Fujichrome Velvia 100 — discontinued in the US due to environmental regulations.

Fujifilm stops shipping Velvia 100 to the US. Commercial labs are prohibited from developing this film also.

Studio C-41 has dropped the news this month, which is exactly the thing the title implies: no more Velvia 100 in the USA. And if you do have some in your American fridge, you’ll need to develop it yourself.

The reason is a change in the government’s environmental regulations.

Can we really blame Fujifilm for this? Sure we can! Kodak and many other film manufacturers have invested a lot of time and effort in upgrading their emulsions to curb pollution. With their tremendous expertise and resources, Fujifilm had always had that option on the table. But they chose not to invest in it.

Around the same time this month, the company has announced the closures of the US-based photography manufacturing plants while doubling down on their message of dedication to photography. A message that was consistently broadcasted during their decade of perpetual film discontinuations.

Ilford film price hike.

Emulsive.org has reported on Ilford’s recent announcement of a price hike this year. The company blamed increased sourcing costs for raw materials, in part due to the pandemic. However, Ilford did not share any numbers, forcing Em to make informed speculation that, on average, it’ll be 5-7%.

I can see why the company decided to keep those figures for their authorized retailers only. As you may have learned, film stores have been eating a lot of those price increases, keeping film price increases at the all-time low of 2% this year.

Should you like to stay on top of the real-world film price changes, you can sign up for a free semiannual report here.