Despite its recent renaissance, accompanied as things are these days by a long list of hashtags: #believeinfilm, #buyfilmnotmegapixels, and #filmisnotdead among them, loving film in the two thousand teens can be a bit of a heartbreak. You experiment and fall in love with a new-to-you film stock only to learn that it’s just been discontinued in your favorite format. It’s not a matter of whether the big players will hike prices annually on their remaining lines, because you know they will. The only question is how much you and other devoted film shooters will be forking over for each precious roll . . . and how much freezer room can you spare to stockpile a bit at the old price.
But if you’re a painter who loves watercolors, no one assumes that you’d easily make the switch to oils if watercolors suddenly became harder to source, or that your skill with one medium would seamlessly translate to the other. Which is why the perpetual stream of clickbaity articles about digital eating film or, alternately, film’s superiority over digital, puzzle me. I believe that the interaction between artist and medium is every bit as real in photography as it is in sculpture, painting or any other art form. It needn’t be an either-or debate.
Today we have digital cameras that practically let people see in the dark – and that is wonderful. And we have photographers employing early photographic methods, like Alex Timmermans does with his wet plate collodion photographs. These images have a magic about them that seems to be born from a perfect union between his subject and medium. We are all lucky to be making images in an age with so many options, and I’d like to think that more media – more options – is an idea that all photographers can get behind.
And that’s why the CineStill 120 Indiegogo campaign is something I can’t help shouting from the rooftops. CineStill 800T and 50D are two truly beautiful, distinctive looking, cinema films, that are currently available in 35mm format. As of this writing, the company is about halfway through a 25 day funding campaign, and they have raised over 90% of their $120,000 initial goal to begin producing 800T in 120 format.
What’s amazing to me is that just over 1300 film lovers have helped get them to this point!. Once the initial target is hit, and I feel really confident that it will be, a few stretch goals for the campaign have been revealed. Reaching $150,000 will allow CineStill to offer 800T in large format, and hitting $190,000 will allow them to produce my personal sparkly rainbow unicorn of film Cinestill 50D in 120.
My instagram feed has almost exclusively featured CineStill images and funding updates since the campaign launched, and for the record the Brothers Wright, founders of CineStill, have given me not a penny of remuneration or product in return. What they have given me is hope. Hope that their entrepreneurial spirit will pave the way for others, and hope that when those of us who love film band together to support those who are willing to take a risk on it, and us, that we will, in turn, support them and really, truly keep film alive & thriving.