The novelty of an old art and the abundance of spare time during the pandemic seem to have piqued the younger generation’s interest in film photography.
The Atlantic Photo Supply is one of the few remaining businesses that sells and develops film in Nova Scotia. Allen Sutherland, who manages the store’s locations in Dartmouth and in Halifax, said there has been a 200 per cent increase in film sales over the last five years.
“It’s kind of like vinyl records. It’s the same trend,” said Sutherland. “Vinyl records came back because of the appeal for something that was more analog.”
Younger customers are bringing in cameras passed down to them by their grandparents or are finding them in thrift stores, he said.
They could also use the darkroom safely during lockdowns.
What’s the appeal?
Sutherland said people are also drawn to the retro look of the final product.
Film cameras capture what is in the environment mechanically, without an image processor. There’s no sensor that interprets what it sees. “That’s as true and pure as you can get,” he said.
Albert Lee, a photojournalist whose work has been published in newspapers and magazines, said the trend has only caught on in the Maritimes recently.
“It’s a big thing on the West Coast in the states right now,” said Lee, who has dabbled in both digital and film photography.
He believes the young people who are embracing analog photography see it as a mode of self-expression.
“People are too used these days just to squinting at a two-inch-square screen on a smartphone, or maybe just like a 12-inch display on their computer monitor. That sense of esthetic isn’t quite the same as watching it like on a print say, even an eight-by-10 or 11-by-14 print hanging on a wall,” said Lee.
But today, a roll of Kodak film that would normally have cost $8 is now $28, he said, and people are selling them online for about $40.
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