The photographic film business is a bit like the Black Knight — it’s been remorselessly hacked into bits, but it’s not dead yet.
Black-and-white film supplier Ilford recently surveyed their customers, canvassing “thousands” of users across 70 countries to understand why they’re shooting film. While the company didn’t release all the numbers, they did offer a few highlights that help shed some light on the state of film photography. To wit:
* 30 percent of survey respondents were under the age of 35 and 60 percent of them had picked up film photography over the past five years. Their interest in film was often spurred by receiving a film camera as a gift
* 84 percent of survey respondents were self-taught and 49 percent develop and print their own photos in a darkroom.
* 98 percent of respondents shoot black-and-white film, 31 percent did so exclusively
* 86 percent use roll film.
When asked why they choose to shoot film, photographers told Ilford that they “wanted to slow down.” The limitations of film, they said, forced them to think carefully about their craft as opposed to digital where “you just shoot.” Photographers also told Ilford they thought of film as “retro” and fun.