Does Analog Need Saving?

Analog (or Analogue)

I just got done reading a post on Camera Ventures about the project of a Finnish film photographer named Juho. He apparently has interviewed about 300 people on the state of analog photography worldwide. From film industry CEO’s to Japan Camera Hunter’s Bellamy to the youngest film users. The goal of the project was to ascertain whether he and his brethren’s dedication to analog photography was really just a fruitless Don Quixote-like endeavor, or the signs of a resurgence and were fortified with facts based on reality.

Analog Rocks!

I didn’t actually care what his conclusions were. After shooting film for most of my career, and only begrudgingly shooting digital for commercial reasons, (money),  I am now a strictly film shooter. Assuming you don’t count the occasional iPhone snap. I had enough of being some art director’s “technician” some time ago. Instead of standing over my shoulder and inspecting and directing every image, I realized they should just go buy their own cameras. For me, film looks right and feels right. I don’t really care what everyone else does.



analog photography
Rollei 6003 and 80mm Zeiss…Nikon F4s and 50mm Nikkor…Nikon F5 and 50mm Nikkor


Honestly, I applaud Juho for his efforts in Finland and his commitment to attempting the propagation of a global analog community. I have been to both Facebook analog groups, and even the Reddit ‘Analog’ sub reddit. I hate to say it, but he’s right. We don’t have anything closely resembling a “community”. The Reddit community has only 37K or so members. As compared to ‘Pics’ which has 3 million +. And they tend to be cliquish and not very interested in expanding their influence or drawing in other participants. I guess the constant assaults from the digital trolls has embittered them and put them on the defensive. I don’t know. I’m not Dr. Phil.

The Categories

Juho put every analog aficionado into 4 main categories; The Collector, The Gearhead, The Artist and The Newcomer. And, he’s probably mostly right. With the exception that more and more edgy magazines are asking for film, and that even established fashion, art, landscape and other genre photographers are still using film. (Tim Walker, Sebastio Salgado, Clyde Butcher, Ryan McGinley, etc.)


Nikon F4s with 50mm Nikkor and Kodak Tri-X


But it’s time to come out of the closet, (uhh,…so to speak), and drop the defensive attitude. Juho is right. We need a “global” community for film to survive through this century. We Westerners are especially guilty of forgetting that we don’t make up the majority of the world’s population. (hence, analog users) And between all the new films from Adox, Bergger, Cinestill, Ferrania, Foma,…not to mention Instax and the Impossible project, analog growth in countries like Poland, Russia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Turkey and China is relatively skyrocketing. (Ren Hang produced all his worldwide images with a Minolta X-700)



Minolta X-700


Power to the People

It’s time for everyone to come together and celebrate analog. The Kodak’s, Fuji’s and Noritsu’s of the world need to hear it loud and clear. With collective thought comes power. Fujifilm sold more Instax cameras than all their digital cameras combined! Hey, this has got to be easier than a ‘Save the Whales’ campaign. So, say it loud,…I’m FILM and I’m proud! 🙂

Cover Photo: Nikon F4s with 50mm Nikkor and Kodak Portra 160





This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. We know analog photography is making a come back and we’ve created a rare course on how to traditional retouch and spot by Katherine Gillis, master retoucher & spotter for over 24 years. Still does the Yosemite Special Edition Prints by Ansel Adams. Her course is my online school debut course in May. It has taken over 15 months to create. We are co-developers. The name of the course is “Become a Fearless Traditional Retoucher & Spotter.” The online school (mine) is called where anyone can go and glance through what the course contains. The course will open soon in May for enrollment. Anyone interested in taking the course can get Katherine’s FREE Tools & Resources Checklist from her website at That allows us to contact analog photographers about the course launch date. Yes, analog photography rocks and we’re here to see that the newbies and the professionals get step-by-step, visual instruction how to finish the process via traditional retouching and doing it correctly.

  2. I’m so glad that this is happening. The passing of Ren Hang was just so disappointing. He was just coming upon the stage of action and he seriously had no respect for digital photography. He could have been Analog photography’s strongest voice among the growing young generation of photographers. although he is not young, Jerguen Teller was a disappointment when he went digital.

  3. There are a lot of film cameras and lenses out there, just waiting to be purchased and used. Some, like the Nikon F, F2, Nikkormat can be used without a meter quite safely if you use mono films. Light metering in cameras was introduced to help people using colour films, especially transparencies that have such little latitude to exposure variations. Even a manual camera with a dud inboard light meter can be used with a handheld meter. Lenses? A multitude of perhaps the finest Japanese optics such as the 24mm f2.8 NC, 28mm f2 P, 35mm f2 O, 50mm F1n.4 SC, 85mm F1.8 HC, 105mm f2.5 P, 135mm f2.8 Q, 200mm f4 Q, 300mm f4.5 H.

  4. I’m working on a Nikon F2 article now. For some reason, this seems to be a very under rated camera. I can see areas where it actually usurps the F3. 🙂

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