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Who shoots film? - Russia and CIS

(Статья на русском языке)

Few months ago we, the Cameraventures team, launched the project #saveanalogcameras, to see if the photographers are interested in the analog photography and to see the its future.

During the work on this project we interviewed about 250 russian-speaking photographers, who still are shooting on the film. All interviewed people are representatives of different ages and citizenships. Majority of them, obviously, are living in Russia, but also there are people from Ukraine, Belarus, Latvia and other countries.

To tell the truth, the situation with the analog photography in Russia is in great condition, so it gives the full confidence that analog photography has a future here. The availability of the Internet-stores that selling old analog cameras and gear for them, some repair-shops, and a bunch of photo-labs – all of those give the opportunities for the development of the analog photography in Russia. However, if the analog photography is still exists and develops, the question is, who shoots film in Russia?

To answer this question I studied the results of research and the statistics, that we got during the work of our project. We divided the whole audience in 4 big blurry parts: newcomers, gearheads, artists and collectors (we described each type in the article -

If we take a look on Russia and countries-neighbors, we will understand that the majority are photographers-artists (more than 40% of all interviewed people), and average age of the photographer is between 27 and 34 years. And yes, if we take a look on those who shoot film, we will prove it. The majority of them are wedding photographers (they are in the major part) and portrait-photographers. It worth noting, that wedding photography is quite popular genre here, in Russia, and the number of wedding photographers is increasing everyday, Even in small cities there is a huge competition! Firstly it came from the West, then it appeared that here, in Russia, people like to have their wedding being shot on the film.

Why? I asked some friends of mine, that came in analog genre recently, why they started to shoot on film, what made them to take pictures on quite old cameras, rather then on modern digital cameras. The reasons were different, but there were some common,

  • firstly, it is the process of shooting, the depth of image and colors.
  • Also, asking people about their preferences, I understood that people prefer medium format, but that’s quite logically, taking into the consideration demands of the portrait and wedding photography genres. Of course, people shoot on the other formats as well. If we take 35mm format, we will see, that usually newcomers shoot on this type. However, there are a lot of exceptions! We have a number of talented street-photographers, who use small 35mm cameras.

My conclusion that the most common type of analog photographers in Russia are the wedding photographers and portrait photographers can be also proved with the fact, that the majority of clients of photo-labs are those photographers!

So, we figured out with the type of photographers. But, who also shoots on film? If take a look on the statistics, we can see that there are a lot of people that just have come into the analog genre or who is going to shoot on film. And this fact makes me, the person who deeply involved into the analog genre, feel pleased. There is quite a tendency, so the need and interest are growing! There a dew collectors, and this can be proved not only by statistic, but also by the words of my colleagues. Usual photographer has 1-3 cameras in his own, just by the rule they are medium-formated and small-formated, sometimes photographers take spare camera in case of accident.

Also, we have a lot of amateurs: there are so many of them, that we can create a special type for them. Usually, they are teenagers, who found their parents’ old analog camera. My way in the analog genre was just like this.

Taking everything into consideration, I should note that the film industry is developing in Russia, thanks to our talented portrait and wedding photographers!