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Film : Alive and Well in 2017

Black and white film is distinctive, it has a pronounced grain and a certain feel to it that can't be matched digitally. Perhaps, that's why companies such as Ilford and Kodak have continued manufacturing a wide variety of black and white films; in formats varying from the common 35mm cartridge to 120mm and even 8 by 10 inch sheet film. Interestingly, major film producing companies including Fujifilm, Kodak and Harman Technology-Ilford have been experiencing growth of 5% annually in film sales according to sources such as Time Magazine in 2017. This growth contrasts the media narrative of a slow decline and death of film among other analog formats like Vinyl Records (The Guardian) and even the venerable Cassette Tape (Forbes).

           Moreover, black and white films are increasingly available online internationally, from retailers such as B&H and even first and third party sellers on Ebay and Amazon. Interestingly, black and white film developers, stop bathes, fixers, clearing and rinse agents are also available in powdered and liquid concentrate form at various retailers. The availability of developers provide anybody who is interested, with the opportunity to develop and scan or even print from enlarger black and white film in 2017. 



           Above see an image of a gateway to Finnie's garden in Coquitlam British Columbia. I've both printed this photograph from an enlarger in a darkroom and scanned the film both images appear very similar. If you look carefully you may notice the grain in the photograph details such as this are maintained through the scanning process surprisingly well. Many flat bed and printer-scanners have 35mm and even medium format film carriers, allowing one to scan at surprisingly high resolutions. For example, an Epson V550 will can scan film at a maximum optical resolution of 6400 dots per inch enough for a detailed 16 by 20 inch print.

They're waiting
The Pathway

           Above another film scan, this is an photograph of The West Lawn Building, a site abandoned since the early 1980's. I've taken a similar photograph with my DSLR but I've found this to be my favorite, the grain and depth of field emphasize the aged walkway, eerily lined up with the asylums massive doors.

          If your reading this article and your interested in trying out black and white film, but not willing to develop your own film by following online instructions, or even just interested in taking the photographs and avoiding the entire self developing conundrum, their are options. For the latter option, darkrooms are still available that will process black and white film in major cities, if they're not, services are available online in which you mail your film negatives in to be developed. Learning to develop film in a structured environment is also an option. Classes teaching the basics of darkroom techniques and film exposure and development are available in most cities and discovering them is only an online search away, try "entering black and white film photography classes near X"; you'll definitely be surprised with the results.

Chain Link
Chain link's

           So far, I've only featured my own images on my blog as viewership grows, well if it grows, I'll be open to looking featuring photographs or even entire articles by other photographers or photography related individuals. If your interested in helping grow the blog or contributing photographs and articles feel free to comment, share and subscribe, alternatively feel free to contact me through Flickr mail.

Have a great week!


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