May ‘20 Community Letter

And the Winner Is…

5 min read by Dmitri, Elisa Caporaletti, and Rob Gatis Charlotte.

This month’s letter covers two new product launches, including Lomography’s new Aqua camera, and the magical new Cinestill chemicals. Also, two mildly-concerning news items from Kodak, and Henry’s — the latter being a large Canadian photography store chain.

Sadly, the global pandemic emergency isn’t over, so the focus on it remains throughout the creative community. Analog.Cafe ran the film photography competition, Monochrome at Home,” asking for submissions shot on black and white film within the quarantine’s confounds. The winner and the eleven participants are named below. Selected submissions are to be featured in the upcoming print publication, Monochrome Unbound.

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Elisa’s [“Monochrome at Home” winning entry] struck me with its natural, haunting contrast, and a simple composition, which I feel captures the emotional and physical crisis in a relatable, authentic, and free of clichés:
“Connession” by Elisa Caporaletti: the winner of the “Monochrome at Home” film photography competition and the cover of the first edition of “Monochrome Unbound” magazine.

“Monochrome at Home” competition winner, participants, and the upcoming print publication.

Earlier this year, I announced the film photography competition focusing on the incredible health crisis we are facing today. Meant to creatively challenge the participants to document and express the unique and diverse environments, emotions, and stories around our homes. All images were to be shot on black and white film, with a promise of being printed and distributed in the upcoming zine publication, named “Monochrome Unbound.” A single winner is to receive my stash of five 35mm Film Ferrania monochrome film rolls.

Selection process: all shortlisted entries are printed, shuffled, and laid out for deliberation. The vast majority of images were of fantastic quality and profound artistic value, making the choice of just one winner a difficult one.

I must add that I’m humbled by the response from the participants and the community leaders who have chosen to spread the word about the project, including bigheadtaco, Em, Chi, JapanCameraHunter, Dan Rubin, Film Ferrania, Silvergrain Classics, and Studio C-41.

The winning submission is a photograph by Elisa Caporaletti, from her essay, “Connession,” which presents the idea of the crucial importance that mobile devices play in our lives.

Elisa’s image struck me with its natural, haunting contrast and simple composition that I feel captures the emotional and physical crisis in a way that is relatable, authentic, and free of clichés. And it looks beautiful on paper.

Her image will be featured on the front page of the upcoming zine Monochrome Unbound (introduced here).

Along with Elisa’s, works by Martin Beech, merimies, norayr, Sona Manukyan, Niño Expectante a la espalda de nadie, Kitja, Paul G., Lorenzo Stolfi, M. Fohl, and Paulo Monteiro are selected to be a part of the publication.

Out of competition, fantastic images and stories by Christian K. Lee and Bill Manning will be making it into print as well. And something from me, too.

All proceeds from sales of the zine will go to benefit Blue Earth Alliance — an American charitable photographic society that funds projects meant to expose social and environmental issues. I believe that valued art can shape our planet’s future beyond what most care to imagine. Though its effects may not appear direct, art is in the position to hold influence over our culture and understanding of the selves — which drives all’s future decisions.

Thank you, everyone! I will be in touch with all of the participants individually to confirm the details.

Image by Rob Gratis Charlotte, courtesy of Lomography USA.

Lomography Aqua.

Almost every month, since the beginning of the turbulent 2020, Lomography has been announcing new product launches.

May is no different.

This time, the company has made a waterproof casing for their “Simple Use,” a play on “single-use,” reload-able camera available at the store. It comes with Lomochrome Purple film, which can be measured anywhere between ISO100 and ISO400, making outdoor exposures simple.

Cinestill 800T. From my stash of “private” Feb. 2019 photographs.

Cinestill E-6 creative chemicals.

The folks at Cinestill have been making Kodak’s incredible Vision 3 emulsion usable for still photographers since 2012. During those eight years, the company expanded its initial offering to include a variety of products, including the 50D, XX, and a range of film processing chemicals. This week, they’ve teased something new: a simple system for developing slide film at home with added creative control.

“For the first time ever, you can change the color profile of your slides.”Japan Camera Hunter. With these new chems, you’ll be able to warm or cool your scenes without using a lens filter and choose the level of contrast with an option to expand the film’s latitude. Preorder your magic brew here.

More news and closing thoughts.

Henry’s — a large Canadian photographic retail chain had to shut down some of its locations and propose a restructuring strategy to its creditors, to whom it owes a nasty $24,000,000.

Kodak released its first-quarter earnings report for 2020, which does not look horrible though it already shows signs of a slowdown.

Finally, do check out David Collyer’s incredible new photo essay published on The Guardian website: “All in a day’s work: the coronavirus crisis in a rural district general hospital” — an incredible set of images and stories.

From my recent trip to Russia.

I’m finding myself well-acclimated to be working from home and reasonably accustomed to the new normal, while in a constant state of bewilderment on a profoundly personal level. All the while I feel both flattered and overwhelmed by the increased number of messages and submissions to Analog.Cafe. So if you’ve sent me something, I may take longer than usual to respond — sorry about that.