The Cameraventures team launched the „Save Analog Cameras“ campaign to look into the current status of film photography in the world and forecast its direction in the near future. Out of the over 4000 form entries that we received from all countries, 244 come from the German-speaking countries of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland (as of 04.07.2017). From these group, 211 entries were answered using our English-language form and the remaining 33 were from our German-language form. To our fellow German-speaking analog photographers, we are very thankful for your participation and contribution to our movement!
The majority of film photographers in the region (31% of the English-language and 45% of the German-language results) are young adults between the age of 21 and 34. Age-wise the results are spread towards those born in the late 80’s to the early 90’s – during the years that led to the Fall of the Berlin Wall and the German reunification;
Looking closer into the German-language answers we see that the youngest film photographers are in their late teens (16-20 years old) and the oldest ones are 56-65 years old, while the English-language results show an even wider distribution of ages, from 8 to 75 years old, with 27-34 years old group being the most represented. This means that for both results, almost a third of all recorded analog photographers in the DACH region are aged 26 and below.
Moving on to the Archetypes, photographers based in the region show mixed results: in the German-language questionnaire, most see themselves as Gearheads and Collectors, but in the English-language version they identify themselves heavily as Artists.
To add into the disparity, German, Austrian, and Swiss photographers admit to own only a few cameras, one to three bodies to be exact. From both of these results we can understand that many photographers do not even consider themselves to strictly one of any of the given Archetypes and they instead have qualities from each, and that they prefer using their camera gear than merely collecting them.
Finally, let us look into how photographers in this region group themselves. A general trend between the survey participants said that (regardless of age or geographical location) they know around 1-3 people who are similarly enthusiastic about analog photography, but some know as many as 12 people. Of course there are notable exceptions as well: community creators in the region know around more than 20 or 50 people. Within these communities are specialized individuals who can volunteer themselves to fill in the needs of their fellow members and most especially to lone enthusiasts. These communities act as support systems for everyone where they can buy gear (through online biddings or community posts), to have their films developed and/or scanned, and where they can gain knowledge and inspiration to continue their passion for analog photography.
To recap, the DACH region’s analog photographers form small but strong groups that act as microcosms of the general regional landscape – inspired by the engineering of their products, the philosophy of the craft, and by the youth of the photographers themselves.
Authors: Sam Sanchez, Sarah Reuter