Analogue film enthusiasts and inspired newcomers have created unprecedented demand since the start of the pandemic despite global stock shortages and historically high prices.
With the resurgence of 35mm film over the past few years, available stocks have become scarce and coupled with additional pandemic-related supply issues and limited shipments the cost of Kodak film has risen by at least 20 per cent.
Nick Vlahadamis, the owner of SydneySuper8 film store in Newtown, in Sydney’s inner west, said: “This is not a unique situation for film. It’s a combination of scarcity and demand and supply issues from the major manufacturers.”
With “hundreds of people” coming through his store every week, he said “interest in film has skyrocketed”, adding: “But coincidentally, the sales or demand for film globally… has skyrocketed as well.”
Vlahadamis believes lockdown gave people time to “rediscover things” and it didn’t matter if you were in isolation to shoot film.
‘That may have been the catalyst for this increase in demand for the past two years’ as well as novelty and nostalgia,” he told Central News.
These increases in popularity can be seen in the price hikes of not just film but the cameras as well, with film camera prices shooting up 80 per cent between 2019 and 2021 through physical film stores and online resale websites.
Shooting on film has felt both a “lot more unattainable and harder to manage”, according to photographer Saph Louise, who said it had caused some users to drift away from film photography due to rising costs and issues of accessibility.
Despite this, they explained “it costs a lot of money, but people will cop it anyway because it’s got a different energy to it”.
While it can’t be forecast if the film revival will continue at this rapid rate, it has revealed a deeper appreciation for analogue photography.
“With mobile phone photography, the moment is lost instantly… with a camera, you capture history,” said Vlahadamis.
Feature image by Jasmin Williams. Photographer Saph Louise holding a roll of Kodak 35mm Film.