Three years of EMULSIVE – a retrospective
Three years of EMULSIVE. Who would have thought this little labour of love would have lasted this long? Whether you’re here for the first time or coming back for your thousandth-plus daily visit, I welcome you one and all. Since launching on June 1st 2015 as a simple website to share my photography and writings on film photography, EMULSIVE had grown to include film photographer interviews, the occasional news story, featured projects, film parties and of course, EMULSIVE Santa.
Most importantly, it has has been transformed into a community hub where contributing authors – everyday photographers just like you and me – share their work, processes and photography with those in the wider community. To the 180 authors whose work has been featured on these pages over the past three years, thank you. I cannot express how utterly humbled I am that you would let me share your work and words. Every article and every photograph helps stoke the fires of collaboration and knowledge transfer I ramble about on these pages and elsewhere on the web.
To everyone who’s been reading these pages and helping me make a fool of myself on social media, thank you for keeping me relatively sane.
While I’m at it, I’d also like to send out to massive thank you to members of the film photography industry, whose support of the community, as well as events and activities here on EMULSIVE has been critical over the past year: ILFORD, Eastman Kodak, Kodak Alaris, Billingham Bags, Cinestill, Dubblefilm, Film Ferrania, Lomography, Old School Photo Lab, Silberra Film, Shoot Film Co. and Solarcan – if I’ve missed anyone off, it’s not because I don’t appreciate what you do, thank you.
Looking back at year three
Year three continued the Community Interviews and for those wondering when the next one will be happening, bear with me! The next should be kicking off towards the end of June. It also saw 45 fresh EMULSIVE interviews, another 260 photographs taken by yours truly and a whopping 290 articles. You’re probably as surprised as I am writing that figure. Aside from making it very difficult for me to think of anything other than what’s being published on EMULSIVE on any given day, that number demonstrates my next point pretty well.
The community is growing and growing stronger, which is something I hope to better address in year four. Speaking of which…
The year ahead
EMULSIVE is just one, small website publishing film photography related content*. Today in 2018 there are any number of film photography blogs, news sites and online magazines that pump out just as many, if not more quality articles and film photography related content than I do, and the list is growing – for an idea, take a look at this list from Stephen Dowling, the man behind Kosmo Foto of the 20 film blogs he keeps the most up to date with.
Although as a community we might all be moaning (and we are moaning) about the lack of new cameras, film photography as a whole has never been healthier, and there’s much more choice in the medium than we might fully appreciate. Just take a look at my ongoing “Every single film stock still made” series for a taster. The final list is going to bring us close to 200 film stocks of which approximately 150 – one hundred and fifty – are unique. Not rebrands, not repackaging, honest to god totally unique films stocks. In the months since starting the series, I have found, or have been made aware of at least another half a dozen new stocks out there. That’s growth for you, albeit under the radar.
One side of the industry grows while the other waits for Reflex, Japan Camera Hunter and others to support it in lieu of names like Nikon, Canon and Leica; and there’s a growing community of fresh blood trying out film for the first time, or coming back to it for their second or third attempt.
With so many people coming in and coming back, we should all take a minute out to get to know and help support all these new film photographers – you’ll see their work in hashtags on Twitter and Instagram, on Facebook groups and on Flickr. They’re the ones asking the same questions that you and I asked when we were getting started and unsure of how to use a particular camera or rate a specific film. Listen to their questions, answer them and please don’t get frustrated and tell them to search for the information before asking. You were there once, so remember what it was like for you and how you felt when you got the support you needed.
The year ahead for EMULSIVE then, is to help answer questions for those coming into film (and other analogue mediums). It’s to feature more of their work and words. Most importantly, it’s to bring those people who are coming to film closer with those of us who have been here for a while – and hopefully helping educate both groups at the same time.
* by film photography, I don’t mean to alienate all you instant, dry and wet plate shooters, I’m including you all but find it myself typing “film” more often than “analogue”
A couple of final bits
After resisting for quite some time, I was finally convinced by a nameless but much-appreciated individual to take the leap into asking for your financial help with EMULSIVE. I know that might put some of your off, so please give me a bit of room to explain what that means to me.
When I started EMULSIVE the website was ad-supported – it still is. The idea being that I could claw back some of my direct financial outlay for services (like hosting, software, tools, events). It eventually did, to a point but something else happened in the intervening years. I decided that I want to do this full time.
In January 2018 I opened up a Patreon page to help me make EMULSIVE my full-time focus. Right now I spend anywhere between 20 and 30 hours a week on this little labour of love and wish I could do more. Allowing me to be able to financially cover the time I spend working on EMULSIVE is going to help me do that, as well as put some of the money made into developing new content and community activities/events. In the not too distant future, I hope that Patreon will also provide me with enough flexibility to dedicate my efforts to EMULSIVE on a full-time basis.
That’s the dream.
There’s more info over on Patreon, where you can find a bit more on the where and why, as well as what any specific level of support will get you – I’m asking for anything from a couple of Dollars/Pounds/Euro a month, to a thousand…although sadly no one has taken me up on that yet.
You never know, and if any of you know a well-off philanthropist with a love of the analogue process I’d appreciate an introduction 😉
If you fancy spending the equivalent of a pint and a packet of crisps down the pub every month, please head on over and have a read.
Finally, I want to say thank you to some of those other folks I mentioned above who are also out here competing for your attention: 35mmc, Japan Camera Hunter, Kosmofoto, Shoot Film Co. If you haven’t noticed, we’ve been working harder to collaborate more this past year and a bit; and will continue to do so (hopefully) well into the future.
It’s all in the spirit of bringing the community together. We all share the same passion and excitement for what we do and whilst I might go off making fun of 35mmc’s Hamish Gill especially on social media, you can be assured that they all get their fair share and it’s all coming from a place of love and appreciation.
I love Hamish Gill. There, I said it. Speaking of which, Hamish celebrated five years of 35mmc in the middle of May and has just released his own retrospective article (it’s not as good as this one but you should give it a read all the same).
Thank you again for your support and as ever, keep shooting, folks!
Write for EMULSIVE
The driving force behind EMULSIVE is knowledge transfer, specifically creating more of it in the film photography community. You can help by contributing your thoughts, work and ideas to inspire others reading these pages.
Take action and help drive an open, collaborative community: all you need do is read this and then drop me a line.
Lend your support
Like what you see here? You can support EMULSIVE by helping to contribute to the community voice on this website (see above), or by heading on over to the EMULSIVE Patreon page and considering financial support from as little as $2 a month.
As if that’s not enough, there’s also an EMULSIVE print and apparel store over at Society 6, currently showcasing over two dozen t-shirt designs and over a dozen unique prints of photographs made by yours truly
In short, I want to continue building this platform and I’d love your help to make that happen.