Following National Trends, Film Makes a Comeback in Reno
Even though we're surrounded by digital, lately there's been a comeback in vinyl records and books. Here’s another classic that's enjoying a welcome rebound...
Even though we're surrounded by digital, lately there's been a comeback in vinyl records and books. Here’s another classic that's enjoying a welcome rebound: You see the nostalgic packages the minute you walk into Gordon’s Photo Service at Reno’s Smithridge Plaza. As owner Gordon Allen showed us, "This whole row is all black and white films, and then we have the color negative films all down here..."
Yes, the shelves you'd expect to be stocked with memory cards are filled with yellow and green boxes...and the cameras that use them. Though there are some empty spaces, namely the big spaces reserved for Fuji instant cameras. Gordon says, “I sold out of them. I've got another shipment coming, yeah!"
But wait a minute…film was doomed! Well, to paraphrase Mark Twain, reports of its death have been greatly exaggerated. Sales are back up to where they were years ago. Gordon's Photo Service sells 500 rolls of film a week. Gordon’s sales associate Russell Aharonian told me, "Over here it's tremendous. I would say we have more than 60% of film processing and sales over digital. Everybody's going back to basics."
Film began its downfall decades ago, but over the last three years Kodak and Fuji have seen big growth in film sales. Who's behind this revival? The people who know pictures best: professional photographers. Gordon says, "It's something that looks different from digital. It has a more 3D look to it. They can hold a print in their hand and they have the negatives which frankly will last 80 years."
Specifically coming around are young photographers, raised on digital and now discovering the soul and beauty of film. But it's not so much the film. Russell says it’s the different process that gets you a better picture: "Instead of push a button delete, push and delete...you have to work more toward your photograph to get the desired results. It's artistic, and the quality to me excels with film over digital as far as how the quality of the print actually comes out."
Gordon says young portrait and wedding photographers in their 20’s and 30’s like their pictures to stand out, with film's unique look and feel. The comeback is so strong, Kodak (remember them?) is bringing back Ektachrome slide film this year. Another comeback: instant cameras that print...we used to call them Poloroids. Fuji sold over 6.5 million instant cameras last year, double what they did in 2014. Gordon tells us, "Fuji is making a lot of these instant products. The Instax by Fuji has been very, very popular."