Why does the physical still hold a special place in an increasingly digitalised world?
Brighton-based camera manufacturer Intrepid Camera Co. has teamed up with British Journal of Photography to launch the Intrepid Enlarger. With only a few days of the Kickstarter campaign left, we caught up with film photography collective AllFormat to discover what is driving the film revolution.
Global photography collective AllFormat was conceived by Raph Hurwitz and James Moreton after they connected on Instagram in 2016. The group has since expanded to 15 photographers; has published two sold-out zines, with a third in the pipeline; and developed a loyal community of followers. The collective exists as a platform for people to share work being made on and about film. “We are an online platform that offers opportunities to other photographers who share our love of film,” says member and photographer Ioana Marinca. The group’s inclusive approach and rotating Instagram takeover opportunities create a space for film photography to take centre stage.
AllFormat photographers are based across the globe from countries including Austria, Japan and Finland. The collective’s success is partly down its diverse structure – each member has a distinctly different style, photographic approach and audience. Nick Mayo, a Boston-based photographer brings with him a dedicated fanbase from his YouTube videos and tutorials; while Jahan Saber, founder of Develop, a film photography knowledge bank, comes armed with a following of budding analogue photographers. By contrast, Jacqueline Badeaux, a photographer based in Austin, contributes to the collective with her interesting processes – using bleach, dust or overexposure to create hazy, ethereal images. By harnessing this wide talent pool, the collective is able to realise more ambitious projects.
Individually, the photographers take ownership of various aspects of the platform – from liaising between photographers to posting on its social channels and updating the blog. Together they share industry updates, collaborate on the yearly zine and share knowledge about new techniques and approaches. “We collaborate with each other very closely to edit and produce the flow of the zine,” says co-founder Morton“Usually, we do not have a tight theme, although AllFormat 2 was a journey through our collective psyche and, because it worked so well, AllFormat 3 will follow a similar format.”. Each issue of the AllFormat zine features work by members of the collective and an in-depth interview with one featured photographer. Past interviewees include Italian photographer Renato D’Agostin and skateboarder and actor Jason Lee.
Collectives are especially beneficial for emerging photographers for whom divvying up resources and costs is crucial. “You find other photographers – whether that is in real life or online – and when you meet you exchange prints and ideas,” says Marinca.” This affinity with the physical goes hand in hand with film. “People like holding a zine in their hands,” Marinca explains. “The reason that a lot of people shoot film is so that they can get the final product and know that they were creating that. There was no machine manipulation. You can do plenty of manipulation in the darkroom but there is a beauty in knowing that I loaded the film, I shot it, I developed it, I made that in the darkroom.”
The slower pace of taking a photograph on a film camera is symptomatic of the print industry. “Everyone that speaks about analogue photography speaks about slowing down. It is not about chasing ‘likes’ [on Instagram]. Our goal is to get people to have prints in their hands and on walls,” says Marinca. So how does she feel about people consuming AllFormat images on Instagram? “We talk about this in our [AllFormat’s] private forum all the time. ‘Likes’ mean nothing. Yes, they give us exposure but the thing we cherish the most is human interaction,” she explains. While using the app has clearly had a profound impact in terms of audience reach, it has also proved to be a catalyst for steering the film revolution. Marinca recalls a photographer in Nepal getting in touch with the collective. Having seen Mikael Siirilä’s [a Finland-based AllFormat member] own darkroom, he set his own up. “He has the most exquisite darkroom set up,” says Marinca. “It is something we get a lot.”
It was only recently that Marinca started using film; previously she was devoted to digital. What made her make the change? “Film photography makes you think more, question more… it makes you a lot more observant,” she says. “The whole point of film photography is the final product: the smell of fixer in the darkroom or the smell of film being developed. ”
Words: Alice Finney
AllFormat is made up of: Raph Hurwitz, James Moreton, Kit Young, Cameron Hoerth, Mikael Siirilä, Davide Padovan, Sadie Bailey, Nick Mayo, Jahan Saber, Jacqueline Badeaux, Tatsuya Totsuka, Lorenzo Ferraro, Giulia Agostini, François Constant, Ioana Marinca.
Click here to contribute to the Intrepid Enlarger Kickstarter. Pledgers will be given a reward of their choice and will be able to purchase the enlarger at a special price, before the release date.
The Intrepid Enlarger Kickstarter is supported by British Journal of Photography. Please click here for more information on sponsored content funding at British Journal of Photography.