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Ideas

Our home for bold arguments and big thinkers.

Leica camera
Photo by Todd Williamson/Invision for Leica/AP Images
A great tool—but no USB port.
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Millennials love this newfangled photo technology called film

By Annalisa Merelli

Film is dead. Long live film.

The nostalgic have been mourning the end of film photography for a while now. Kodak went bankrupt and photo labs have been closing all over. Film rolls are expensive (around $5 for 36 photos), and developing them is time-consuming—no contest for the infinite storage space and immediate gratification of digital photography.

But now film photography is enjoying something of a comeback, gaining popularity with the under-thirty set.

Hipster culture embraces all things retro—think thrift stores, mismatched dishes from grandma’s kitchen, and ‘antique’ Instagram filters. And just as this helped rejuvenate vinyl records (their sales are up 49% in 2014) and save Polaroid photos, it’s now bringing back good old print pictures.

In a survey of thousands of people from 70 different countries by Ilford, a producer of photo film, nearly a third said they were below 35—and 60% of that group said they had picked up film photography in the past five years.

Asked what first attracted them to using film, the new users commonly replied:

“It’s fun”
“It’s retro”
“I wanted to slow down […]”

Users also said they enjoy the craft element of developing film. And 90% said they go online to learn and discuss their skill.