Maybe It's Time

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by RattyMouse, Apr 13, 2018.

  1. RattyMouse

    RattyMouse Member

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    Maybe I'm foolish but I never saw the loss of Acros coming. I probably lived in firm denial that this film would be discontinued or if it would, it would go the very last. Clearly Fujifilm has lost all interest in standard film photography, despite their brazen lies to the contrary.

    This past week has been tremendously upsetting. As stated in other posts, Neopan Acros has been my primary film ever since I returned to film photography, now almost 7 years ago. Looking through my 8 binders of negatives, I see two main monochrome films that make up the very majority of film that I have used; Acros, and TMAX400. I was so royally screwed by TMAX400, losing tremendous numbers of images due to poor quality that I was forced to drop that film, even though I loved it dearly. I've stock piled a nice stash of Neopan 400 since then but have yet to fire off a single roll!

    Now Acros is gone and I find my passion for film photography draining away quite quickly. Sure there are other films out there, but each one has their own baggage that makes me more than a little hesitant to place my hopes and future on them.

    Kodak is swirling the drain again and it will be a major miracle if they can get through 2019. Since I'm primarily a 120 shooter I won't trust them that the paper issue has been solved too. I've lost far too many images to place my trust in their film.

    Ilford has been bought out by private equity. My previous company was bought out by private equity and I know what it is like to be owned by "bankers". All they care about is short term profits. Long term stability simply is not on their radar. Long term stability will happily be sacrificed if short term profits can be increased. Investment in the future is not part of their vocabulary.

    I have a LOT of pricey film equipment. My Fujifilm GF670W, GF670, and GA645 have served me well for many years. Just a short time ago I picked up a Fujifilm TX-1 w/all 3 lenses. What a great camera with lenses that simply define sharpness. Finally, I have my Nikon FM2n w/6 lenses and a Canon 1V w/35L, 85L, and 100-400mm II L. Not to mention my fairly high end 120 scanner.

    That's a lot of money invested in film equipment. I think right now if I could unload it with zero effort, I would, just to remove this sinking feeling that has infected me since the discontinuation of Acros. It came so out of the blue. I thought it was a bad joke when I first heard it but instead it turned into my film nightmare.

    I had a huge load of Acros all lined up in my B & H cart the day they first opened up after Acros was discontinued. The stock market took a nice dip that day so I figured I'd hold off awhile on the purchase and wait for a recovery (I day trade for fun during the day so watch the market closely). Who knew stock would disappear literally in one day?

    Just thinking out loud here, trying to get my thoughts together. I need to unload this baggage because if a hobby doesnt bring joy, then it's time to move on.
     
  2. davidcopephotography

    davidcopephotography Member
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    Hi. I'm one of the lurkers in the community here, but felt moved to say don't give up. I understand how disheartening all of this churn is in the film industry, and that one may feel personally like it's hard work to continue. My advice, for what it's worth, would be to take a step back and let your frustration run it's course without making any decisions about your hobby one way or the other.

    Then examine how you feel later - maybe after switching off from photography if that's what you need to do - and hopefully you may come back with fresh perspective and see opportunities in other materials/processes.

    It's definitely a blow when one's primary materials is lost, but also a time for creative reflection.

    Whatever you decide to do, good luck.

    Cheers,
    David.
     
  3. halfaman

    halfaman Member
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    I have no problem to admit that Acros is the best B/W film stock I have ever used, but that doesn't make the rest bad. I stop using Acros because of price and rumours about availability 3 years ago and I have been equally happy.

    I feel very confortable using Ilford FP4 in 120 from image quality point of view. With TMax 400 I found less reasons for disturbance. Tri-X in Rodinal 1+50 is my choice in 120, really gorgeous tones beyond what TMax can give.
     
  4. 1kgcoffee

    1kgcoffee Member
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    Stockpile as much as you can reasonably afford and enjoy it for as long as you can. Yes it's sad but life will go on..
     
  5. perkeleellinen

    perkeleellinen Member

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    Just pretend that film photography is going to be over 1st of January 2019. Buy as much as you need for the year and then shoot as if it's your last throw. All those ideas, projects and different developer / paper types you've been thinking of for years need to be done now. Put all your creative energy into this last throw. Then come 1st of January 2019 check back in and if film is around do it again with a 2020 date.
     
  6. eddie

    eddie Subscriber
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    I don't know how long you've been using film, but anyone who has been using film for a few decades has experienced the loss of favorite materials. Those with a passion for photography adapt. I think, if your interest in photography is real, you will too.
     
  7. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    I agree with Eddie - I am going out to do a 4 x5 project with colour film and I am willing to work with whatever material is available.. I cannot coat the film like I would in desperation if all BW went away, but as some suggest I will stockpile at the outset of the project enough film to last me, now I just need to read up on C41 dev on Jobo threads here and be good to go.

    For my end prints.. tri colour gum any colour film will work.
     
  8. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser
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    yup
     
  9. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    I have always been afraid of the freezer full of film idea, not sure why but I think that has risks as well, specifically with roll film, yesterday I processed some film for a client that
    he had in the freezer for 8 years... the film was almost impossible to load on the Jobo reels.
     
  10. eddie

    eddie Subscriber
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    Me, too. Not because of any potential damage to the film, though. I'll save a discontinued product if its characteristics are inherently important to a project I'm working on. If not, I'll shoot it up. When I did save discontinued emulsions, I found myself not using them, thinking a better photo op would come along. And I always think a better photo op is around the corner. Once the film is gone, I no longer suffer the "should I/shouldn't I" angst.
     
  11. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser
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    i have never had trouble, ever in years with unrefrigerated or unfrozen film and personally i think the freezing and thawing &c is not very good for the film ( personal opinion )
    who knows it might have been the reason people had all that trouble with some of the EK russian constructavist-esqe emulsions in the past few years ... moisture
    getting trapped in the paper ...
     
  12. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    I didn't use Acros but I can understand OPs frustration, and the outlook is indeed depressing (at least to me, given Kodak's situation and Ilford being owned by private equity).

    I mostly shoot B&W. Kodak films are my favourite, and I mostly use Ilford paper. If Kodak goes away I guess I'll move to Ilford film. If Ilford goes away realistically I guess I'm done. I'm not into stockpiling.
     
  13. Larry Cloetta

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    Rattymouse,

    I have been using film without interruption for almost 60 years now, and, like you, also have a more than adequate collection of film cameras with which to use it. Also own multiple top level, current gen digital bodies which I don’t use as much as the film cameras simply because they don’t give me as much pleasure, for reasons which are beyond rational understanding.
    Acros was one of my favorite films, though I use others. Since Fujifilm is the film company which is more financially successful than any of the others, I had assumed, wrongly, that their films would be the last available once all the other companies had disappeared. The loss of Acros has made me rethink that. I would assume, without any proof other than intuition into how these things go, that Velvia and Provia won’t be around that much longer. Kodak was thrown a lifeline by the motion picture industry, but for a variety of reasons, I doubt they will survive. Ilford, I don’t know, maybe. Ferrania, love the film, but there’s 6 people holding the company together. This whole film renaissance idea is probably mostly in our heads, wishful thinking, projection, though without reliable data on worldwide sales, no way to know.
    So, for the first time in my life, the thought did cross my mind, as it did yours, maybe now’s the time to just ditch all this film equipment, cash it out, give up and go mostly digital maybe keeping a Spotmatic or something for old times sake.
    But....nah. Take a deep breath, use the Acros you’ve got left, develop skills for some other friendly films in the meantime, and see what happens. Realistically, long term, film photography in all likelihood ceases to be a viable thing, but as Keynes said, in the long term we’re all dead anyway, so don’t over react short term. Go take a photo walk and chill out, you’ll feel better.
    All the best.
     
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  15. blockend

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    The only materials I miss are Agfa B&W film and especially the company's fibre based papers. They're long gone but we adapt. Most films are good to great with the right developer. It may take a little experimentation and a few tweaks, but I've learned to use almost anything.

    Fuji are baling out faster than anyone, Ilford seem pretty secure. Kodak are even bringing films back. Fomapan 100 is one of my favourites in Rodinal. I even got good results from Chinese Lucky mono until the stuff came pre-scratched and fogged from distorted cassettes. Silver and light is all we need.
     
  16. OP
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    RattyMouse

    RattyMouse Member

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    Thanks to everyone who has replied, especially David who came out of lurk mode. Highly appreciated.

    I had the same exact thought as you. Fujifilm is highly successful as a company and stated many times, very clearly, that they were committed to the future of film. I bought that fake line for many years and so my disappointment was probably set up by that lie. I thought Fujifilm would carry on with film while Kodak would disappear, making Fujifilm even stronger with their film supply.

    That didnt happen. Kodak struggled along keeping film supplies too high for the current market and so Fuji decided to exit. That's a huge loss and to make it even worse, Kodak has no more a stable future now then it did before Fuji exited. There's nothing really to be hopeful for. Ilford being owned by private equity is another huge question mark.

    Thankfully, I have a set of very highly sought after cameras so selling them will be very easy. I'm getting all kinds of requests now via PM but that was not the point of my OP, so please refrain from further offers.

    I have put away my digital cameras for quite a long time, but this weekend, I am going to dig them out of storage, and hopefully be able to charge up their batteries. Perhaps doing so will help me move on from this mess and charge up my own batteries.
     
  17. faberryman

    faberryman Subscriber

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    Films come and go. Photographers adjust. Embrace the change. There are still good emulsions out there.
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2018
  18. Helios 1984

    Helios 1984 Member
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    +1

    Kodak will fall, Fuji will walk away, and maybe the bankers will drop Ilford. Does it mean film is done? No. There's still Adox, ORWO, Foma, Ferrania (They'll get there) etc etc
     
  19. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser
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    yes ... and then there's jason lane !!
     
  20. Helios 1984

    Helios 1984 Member
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    Hey, the guy is flexible.
     
  21. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    So we're supposed to embrace going backwards and/or using junk instead of top tier materials?
     
  22. faberryman

    faberryman Subscriber

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    What are your options? Quit shooting film? Quit photography? Some lovely work is being done using what you refer to as "junk" materials. Of course, it's your choice what you want to do.
     
  23. jnanian

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    not sure if i would call foma, adox and others junk, but to each their own.
    i've no plans really on stopping until im dead ... its easy to buy liquid or make one's own
    and if the digital thing is the 1ste step to a paper negative made by a xerox machine or laser printer
    to be made into a gum over, cyanotype or darkroom print &c .. its possible
    and the results can be as pre coated by a factory or coated less critical as one wants.
    its just an extra step, and its like IDK a few mins to coat, and a little while to dry > well worth the wait.

    YMMV
     
  24. Helios 1984

    Helios 1984 Member
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    and anything that isn't a Pétrus is just red vinegar...
     
  25. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    Well, I've already said, for me it's basically Kodak or Ilford when it comes to film/paper/chemicals. Otherwise realistically I'm probably done, at least with analog.

    As for second rate and/or handmade materials, I'm just not interested. I'd rather do digital than deal with ancient technology emulsions, coating flaws etc. It would make no sense in the context of the images I try to make, or the craft of photography for me.
     
  26. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    Not all junk for sure. For example, Adox's MCC 110 is a beautiful paper. But yes there's junk out there and I ain't interested in stepping backwards when it comes to materials.
     
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