In an increasingly digitalised world, why is there still a special place for the physical?
After connecting on Instagram around two years ago, James Moreton and Raph Hurwitz conceived AllFormat – a global photography collective. After developing a loyal community of followers, as well as selling-out two published zines, the group has since expanded to 15 photographers. From everything about film and to the work that is being made on it, people share their work in this medium on the platform that the collective exists to create. “We are an online platform that offers opportunities to other photographers who share our love of film,” says member and photographer Ioana Marinca. The ethos is that film photography should take centre stage, whether it’s opportunities created from rotating Instagram takeovers or the group’s inclusive approach in general.
Countries such as Finland, Japan, and Austria are a few of the places that represent the photographers making AllFormat a global movement in nature. Whether it’s the audience, the photographic approach, or a distinct style, each member contributes to the group’s diverse structure which contributes, in large part, to the collective’s success. Budding analogue photographers are the following of Jahan Saber who runs a film photography knowledge bank called Develop and brings his army with him to the group. Meanwhile, YouTube videos and tutorials have created a dedicated fanbase for Boston-based photographer Nick Mayo to bring with him. Whilst ethereal images, hazy creations subject to overexposure or dust, even bleach, make for interesting processes for the creation of images that Austin-based photographer Jacqueline Badeaux contributes to the collective. More and more ambitious projects are able to be realised by the collective due to its resource in harnessing this wide talent pool.
Various aspects of the platform are taken ownership of by the photographers individually – whether it’s updating the blog, posting on social channels, or liaising between photographers. Together they share knowledge about new approaches and new techniques, collaborate on the yearly zine, and share industry updates. “We collaborate with each other very closely to edit and produce the flow of the zine,” says co-founder Morton. “Usually, we do not have a tight theme, although AllFormat 2 was a journey through our collective psyche and, because it worked so well, AllFormat 3 will follow a similar format.” A feature about a particular photographer in the form of an in-depth interview as well as work contributed by members of the collective go into each issue of the AllFormat zine. Actor and skateboarder Jason Lee as well as Italian photographer Renato D’Agostin have featured in the zine as past interviewees.
Getting Back To The Darkroom.
Crucial to a successful collective are the added benefits of divvying up costs and resources, especially beneficial for emerging photographers just beginning to earn a reputation. “You find other photographers – whether that is in real life or online – and when you meet you exchange prints and ideas,” says Marinca. What goes hand in hand with film is an affinity for the physical. “People like holding a zine in their hands,” Marinca explains. “The reason that a lot of people shoot film is so that they can get the final product and know that they were creating that. There was no machine manipulation. You can do plenty of manipulation in the darkroom but there is a beauty in knowing that I loaded the film, I shot it, I developed it, I made that in the darkroom.”
Back To Analogue.
A symptom of the print industry is the action of the analogue film camera taking a photograph at a slower pace. “Everyone that speaks about analogue photography speaks about slowing down. It is not about chasing ‘likes’ [on Instagram]. Our goal is to get people to have prints in their hands and on walls,” says Marinca. Yet Instagram is still one of the major platforms on which images by AllFormat are available to the average consumer. “We talk about this in our [AllFormat’s] private forum all the time. ‘Likes’ mean nothing. Yes, they give us exposure but the thing we cherish the most is human interaction,” she explains. In fact, the film revolution’s steering catalyst has proven to be in the ways that an audience can be reached and how profound the impact an app can have on these types of things. The collective was reached out to by a Nepalese photographer as Marnica recalls – he set up his own darkroom after having seen the Finnish AllFormat member Mikael Siirilä’s own personal darkroom; “He has the most exquisite darkroom set up,” says Marinca. “It is something we get a lot.”
Being More Observant.
Once previously devoted solely to digital, it was only recently that Marnica started using film. What made her make the change? “Film photography makes you think more, question more … it makes you a lot more observant,” she says. “The whole point of film photography is the final product: the smell of fixer in the darkroom or the smell of film being developed.”
Words by Elijah (Content Marketer).