The Cameraventures team launched the „Save Analog Cameras“ campaign to look into the current status of film photography in the world and forecast its direction in the near future. Out of the over 4000 form entries that we received from all countries, 244 come from the German-speaking countries of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland (as of 04.07.2017). From these group, 211 entries were answered using our English-language form and the remaining 33 were from our German-language form. To our fellow German-speaking analog photographers, we are very thankful for your participation and contribution to our movement! If you haven’t yet filled up our form, you can do so here: https://cameraventures.com/save-analog-form.
Currently, film and analog photography in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland is alive, strong, well-supported, and active. The sheer number of people who participated in our survey and campaign is a strong evidence for this, as well as the continued existence (in one form or another) of many well-known photography brands such as Leica, Zeiss, ADOX, and AGFA. Generally, it is reasonable to pursue film photography in the region as a hobby or even as a business model due to the availability of film, labs, equipment, and repair facilities in major cities. In addition, information about the discipline has moved online and is best found on camera forums, groups, and clubs, further democratizing the art to a larger and younger audience, many of whom are lovestruck with analog photography and its charms.
As what we have seen from their answers, the regional market (of cameras, film, and repair facilities) can still support their passion without problems. Local shops, labs, and markets provide a constant stream of products that photographers can use, and small but highly-active online/offline photography clubs and communities help uphold the quality of images that German, Austrian, and Swiss photographers capture and present. Finally, the young demographic, themselves witnesses to great historical events, is an assuring fact that their drive and willpower to pursue analog photography is real and will survive on to the next generation.
Nevertheless there are significant challenges that needs addressing: from the decreasing number of repair shops and replacement parts, the hard-pressed situation of the local photographic industry due to internal and external competition, government regulation for businesses, and deeper philosophical questions that photography itself in general faces in the 21st century, as a viable medium of communication, expression, and experience – when faced with digital technology and social media.
To conclude, we can safely say that analog photography lives on in the DACH Region, and the future of analog photography in these countries is safe and sound – thanks to its strong photography industry, young photographers, active communities, and the Internet. Of course, film photography’s strength is connected to the medium itself: if film continues to be made and sold in these countries for reasonable prices, photographers of all ages and interests are ready to capture light with it. Only time will tell if German, Austrian, and Swiss film photographers of the future will be able to continue our story.