Young revive film photography

Ellen Richardson with her beloved camera. Photo by Lin Kerr.
The tactile quality and nostalgic aesthetic of film is drawning young people to the medium, writes Lin Kerr


Film photography is having a resurgence in the hands of young photographers, according to a film enthusiast and staff member at Melbourne film and camera shop FilmNeverDie.

Jed Rann says although film and film camera sales suffered with the development of digital photography,  the tactile quality and nostalgic aesthetic of film has drawn young people to the medium.

“The film community is huge, and it’s getting a lot bigger. We get mostly newcomers. I think it’s going back to the same thing with vinyl records. People want to be able to hold something.”

Kodak accounted for 90 per cent of film sales in its heyday, according to The Economist, but it filed for bankruptcy in 2012.

However, the renewed interest in analogue photography has prompted Kodak to release a new Super-8 camera, as well as revive the much-loved Ektachrome range of film stocks.

Rann says other companies are following suit, and his business’s sales are increasing, both in-store and online.

According to its website, FilmNeverDie’s vision is to “build and nurture the analogue photography community in Australia”.

However, photographer Ellen Richardson believes that the cost of film developing, on top of the price for individual rolls, is the key factor deterring newcomers from trying out the medium.

“I think just because of the age we’re in at the moment, the cost of buying film and getting it developed is a constant throughout the process so it does feel more expensive than digital.

“I mean, I just shot a few rolls of film last night, three roles of slide film and one roll of 35mm. To get those developed it’s going to cost me $120,” she said.

“I’m lucky to be in a position where I can spend money on what I love…but I know for some people the cost would put them off.”

Richardson says investing in film is not only an investment in one’s own art or hobby, but in the future of this vulnerable medium’s place in the market.

“If we continue to support film…then things are going to get cheaper and it’s going to become a lot more accessible,” she said. “Every time I buy a roll, I’m helping film to come back.”