Five Things We Learned About the Analog Community
The response to our Save Analog Cameras movement has been amazing. Over the past month we've received over 4000 form entries from around 100 countries. Thank you to everyone who has participated so far! If you've yet to fill in our form and want to help us save analog cameras, you can do so here.
We've finished compiling the results detailing what kind of a community we compose. The charts and graphs below give a bit of insight into the world of analog enthusiasts in different areas, age groups, social circles and other things. Here are five things we found particularly interesting.
1. The future of film looks very positive
The slight majority of people (55.9%) persistent enough to take our 10 minute online survey are digital photo era natives — under 34-year-olds that were 16 or under when the first digital cameras arrived on the mass market.
2. The offline community is a core part of why film is coming back
There are slightly different social cultures within the analog community. Younger people tend to explore film photography with a group of peers and, compared the older generation, are generally more connected offline. An exception to this rule are the 35-55-year-old super community creators that know over 50 film enthusiasts in person. Lone wolves with no connections tend to be isolated because of geographical reasons — large distances separate more than attitude.
3. A new wave of users is coming
Newcomers to the art are much more common in emerging markets like the Philippines, Vietnam, Brazil and Eastern Europe. They are also online a lot more, as finding mentors in person can be more challenging.
4. Appreciation for cameras themselves crosses age boundaries
Even though the Collector type was primarily defined by a certain age group in our article (and not very positively either), many much younger members of the community felt they were primarily collectors — enthusiastic also about the cameras themselves, not just the pictures they could provide.
5. The philosophy rules
As I drafted the four stereotypes, the Collector, Gearhead, Artist and Newcomer, I didn’t expect the Artist part of the community to be in such a major role throughout the world. This might be a consequence of slightly too blunt intro texts, but it also shows that the single most driving force in the analog photography preservation movement is the philosophy behind it. It is not the Newcomers’ concern for how pictures look, the quality of Collectors’ cameras or the retro feel that inspires Gearheads.
People want to preserve film photography because it is an age old analog way to preserve time and emotion through the centuries without the worry of it becoming unreadable data. Whether they are Artists or not doesn’t make a difference, as we heard from a number of readers who couldn’t relate to the term.
Judge for YourselfThese are just our highlights, but we’d love to hear what you think is interesting. Have a look at the results, apply filters by clicking on almost anything and share your thoughts with the community.
Mobile and tablet users, click here if you're having trouble viewing the data.Keep in mind these results only reflect the people who responded to our survey. We bet there are still many film lovers out there who might not even use the internet. If you know someone like this, give them a hand filling in the form will you? For now, enjoy the data!
Different Types of People
In case you haven't come across the original concepts of the Collector, Gearhead, Artist and Newcomer, here's how Juho described them in his How Can Analog Photography Be Saved article:
By default the Collector is a male in his sixties. He has a collection of cameras that he has accumulated during his life. The biggest hoarders couldn’t help themselves when the prices plummeted when digital came by storm and have amassed hundreds or even thousands of cameras. The collector doesn’t actually use his cameras and they gather dust and decay slowly into a state where CLA is needed. More importantly the collector doesn’t use film unless someone asks him to shoot a portrait at the family reunion and he fires his trusty Metz at everyone's faces.
Typically a 34-year-old male engineer, the Gearhead is someone who loves to mount analog stuff on his digital camera. He has used film when he was young and / or dreamed that it would be nice to just shoot film and not worry about Lightroom pixel peeping. He loves the quality of gear almost more than the end result it produces. However he hasn’t ventured back into the analog world in a way where he would consume more than 2-3 rolls of film a year.
Not as strongly defined by age or gender, the Artist is more of a a philosophical group. The Artist believes in film as a concept – an age old analog way to preserve time and emotion through the centuries without the worry of it becoming unreadable data. The Artist uses a lot of film, developers and photographic paper, but camera gear is just a means to an end for them, which usually makes them bad at helping Newcomers get an easy entry into using a camera without automation.
Newcomers are more concerned about having their shots on social media than as prints. They want good quality scans and are willing to send their film to another country if the lab has the right amount of Instagram followers. The Newcomers love Canon AE-1:s with Portra loaded into them. They shoot a lot of film when they find a good working camera and a good lab to service them, as they are still not ready to do developing themselfs - especially for color pictures. The three previous groups may not understand the ways of the Newcomers, but there is a lovely esthetical philosophy in their photography – they just do things differently than the previous generation.
More results will be published in the upcoming weeks. Stay tuned!