Three Ways We Can Keep Analog Photography Alive

The Digital Age has well and truly established itself and has transformed the photography industry in ways that seemed impossible just a few decades ago. Over the last several years, analog photography has been put on life support, only keeping a pulse thanks to a determined community of film lovers. If you are interested in […]

Three Ways We Can Keep Analog Photography Alive

The Digital Age has well and truly established itself and has transformed the photography industry in ways that seemed impossible just a few decades ago. Over the last several years, analog photography has been put on life support, only keeping a pulse thanks to a determined community of film lovers.


If you are interested in this topic, you can have your say in this 5-minute survey that I have developed to learn more about the analog photography community.


Despite the dominance of digital photography, the short documentary Why We Still Love Film makes the case that analog photography has made a significant resurgence in recent years. YouTubers like Willem Verbeeck, for instance, boast hundreds of thousands of subscribers who are keen to learn about analog photography. Demand is on the incline.

There is a problem, however. Business owner and camera expert Don explains in the documentary the dilemma the analog camera industry faces:

“Demand has completely exceeded supply.”

There are finite quality analog camera models up for grabs and — as resilient as they are — it is a matter of time before they begin showing their age.

According to Why We Still Love Film, we seem to be in a pivotal moment. There is enough interest in analog photography to reinvigorate the industry and potentially keep it alive for future generations to enjoy. This process starts with innovation.

Innovate

In 2004, around the time digital photography started gaining momentum, entrepreneur and author Chris Anderson published an article in Wired titled “The Long Tail.” It was later adapted into a bestselling book.

Anderson explains that in industries, the most popular products make up a majority of sales, while all other sales are made up of less popular niche products (see below). Thanks to improvements in distribution, communication, manufacturing, and online retail, unprecedented opportunities have opened up for niche markets and products.

It is now possible for the most specialized products, like analog cameras, to find its audience and vice versa. The popularity of products no longer has a monopoly on success, and although innovation is expensive, time-consuming, and — above all — risky, now is our chance to innovate.

Share

In order to reduce the risk of wasted resources, innovators require information. By sharing ideas, knowledge, and opinions, innovators can develop products based on people’s needs and wants.

Researcher Clay Shirky has written about how technology has opened new channels to produce and share information at exponential speed online, a phenomenon he calls “cognitive surplus” in his book by the same name.

When taken together, Shirky says that “the world’s cognitive surplus is so large that small changes can have huge ramifications in aggregate.” In other words, all the knowledge we share online — comments, reviews, YouTube videos, etc. — can contribute to changes in the analog photography industry.

Collaborate

As most of us can attest, having an idea is one thing, but bringing it to fruition is something completely different. Whatever the project may be, having a single perspective can be detrimental to the process. The miracle of the internet means that we can find like-minded people who possibly live on the other side of the globe and collaborate to bring ideas to life.

Social scientist and bestselling author Adam Grant explains, “Even having a single ally is enough to dramatically increase your will to act. Find one person who believes in your vision and begin tackling the problem together.”

Whether we produce a YouTube channel, develop film, or manufacture new camera models, the future of the analog photography industry starts now with innovating new products, sharing information, and collaborating with like-minded people.


If you are interested in this topic, you can have your say in this 5-minute survey that I have developed to learn more about the analog photography community.

A massive thanks to the people who have responded so far. Once I have received enough responses, I will share findings in a future article so everyone can benefit and get innovating.


About the author: Benjamin Santamaria is a marketing and communications officer for YMCA Australia. He studied communication at university, focusing his postgraduate research on how young people interact and identify with podcast hosts. Ben has a keen interest in analog photography and aspires to contribute to the reinvigoration of the analog photography market.


Image credits: Header photo licensed via Depositphotos.

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FTC Approves ‘Right To Repair’ Policy in Huge Win for the Movement

In a colossal win for the Right to Repair movement, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has published a statement where it unanimously approved the prioritization of aggressive action against manufacturers who impose unfair repair restrictions on individuals and independent repair shops. The statement follows an executive order from President Joe Biden that asked the FTC […]

FTC Approves ‘Right To Repair’ Policy in Huge Win for the Movement

In a colossal win for the Right to Repair movement, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has published a statement where it unanimously approved the prioritization of aggressive action against manufacturers who impose unfair repair restrictions on individuals and independent repair shops.

The statement follows an executive order from President Joe Biden that asked the FTC to review new regulations that would empower customers. For those unfamiliar, the short video below explains the concept of Right to Repair in less than 60 seconds.

As noted in previous coverage, the Right to Repair movement has been championed by tech advocates, many media groups, and outlets like iFixit. In particular, iFixit has been one of the loudest voices in the movement and believes that everyone who owns a product has the right to repair it. The movement does not just encompass the right to repair owned products but expands to preventing companies from making access to equipment or resources proprietary. iFixit notes that the automobile industry tried to block the independent repair of vehicles, but that motion failed in 2012. Similarly, the idea of a “locked” cell phone to a particular carrier was overturned and made legal in 2018.

The FTC’s statement today notes that the government agency agrees with tech advocates and repair houses and says that the idea of restricting customers and businesses from choosing how they repair products can substantially increase the total cost of repairs, generate harmful electronic waste, and unnecessarily increase wait times for repairs.

“In contrast, providing more choice in repairs can lead to lower costs, reduce e-waste by extending the useful lifespan of products, enable more timely repairs, and provide economic opportunities for entrepreneurs and local businesses,” the FTC writes.

One of the major ways that manufacturers like Apple prevent independent repair of devices is by restricting access to the parts necessary to make those repairs. The FTC specifically has called out this action as one that it finds disagreeable.

“The Commission uncovered evidence that manufacturers and sellers may, without reasonable justification, be restricting competition for repair services in numerous ways including: …asserting patent rights and enforcement of trademarks in an unlawful, overbroad manner; disparaging non-OEM parts and independent repair; using unjustified software locks, digital rights management, and technical protection measures; and imposing restrictive end user license agreements.”

In a blog post summarizing the announcement, iFixit writes that the FTC’s statement should send a clear signal that the tide has turned against anti-repair manufacturers. Despite the considerable lobbying force of these billion-dollar corporations, the FTC has found the actions to be in violation of its policies.

“If manufacturers continue to restrict independent repair, they could find themselves on the wrong end of an FTC enforcement action, and on the hook for sizable penalties,” iFixit writes.

iFixit plans to continue to urge the FTC to take more action against anti-repair manufacturers and create new rules that prohibit unfair and deceptive repair restrictions that it says hurt device owners and stifle competition in the repair market.

The FTC admits that in the past, focusing on unlawful repair restrictions has not been a priority for them, but that changes today.

“The Commission has determined that it will devote more enforcement resources to combat these practices. Accordingly, the Commission will now prioritize investigations into unlawful repair restrictions under relevant statutes such as the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act and Section of the Federal Trade Commission Act.”


Image credits: Header photo licensed via Depositphotos.

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