Ibn Ibn Battuta's Instagram Favorites: Film Edition

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Film Edition: Featured photos from @psychedelic_blues_film, @thefilmcommunity, @ioegreer, @meganshootsfilm, @miki_rolleilife, @istillshootfilm_official, @photo.filmy, and @shoot_film_. By @ibnibnbattuta.
This is the fourth and final post in my "Instagram Favorites" series. See the previous post here: "Global Edition" and "Middle East & North Africa Edition". For information on my selection criteria, see "Intro".

Film is not dead. Grain is good. Buy film, not megapixels. Stay broke, shoot film.

In our digital age, analog photographers are a haughty bunch, fond of slinging around snobby slogans like these to distinguish ourselves from the unwashed camera-phone-wielding masses. (But hey, give us a break, we invest a lot in making our images, and we cherish them dearly, in a way that digital snappers never can!)

Perhaps it seems ironic that genuine film photographers would find a new communal space on Instagram—a digital platform designed to mimic the look of film while sparing users from all its inconveniences. But in fact, as I wrote recently (see "Nostalgia, Inc.: Photography and Analog Defiance in the Age of Instagram"), it has become a surprisingly enjoyable hub for sharing inspiration, insights, and resources among social-media-literate film photographers.

After all, even if we're not a dying breed, we're certainly still a rare one, and widely dispersed. (Not quite unicorns, but maybe snow leopards.)

Based on my observations, film photographers tend to cluster in places that meet three criteria: a thriving creative class (using film is an art), film labs (no point maintaining costly equipment and chemicals without a critical mass of clients), and fatigue with modern technologies (I've observed this backlash against the cold, hard world of digital most often in high-income countries, but it's spreading). Today's analog resistance flourishes in particular pockets worldwide: Japan and Hong Kong in Asia, Paris and Berlin in Europe, New York City and San Francisco in the US. And of course—though it ain't easy—there are thousands of photographers like myself outside these hubs.

This list highlights my favorite film photography accounts on Instagram, selected according to my initial criteria. Enjoy:

Aggregator Accounts:

1. @psychedelic_blues_film: Dustin Adams improves film photography by ruining film. More specifically, he exposes regular old 35mm film to bursts of colored light and holographic reflections, then sells it online. When customers shoot, develop, scan, then share their images, he re-shares his favorites on this account. The results are, well, psychedelic.


2. @thefilmcommunity: A favorite among many excellent film photography aggregator accounts, this is an amazing place to discover talented analog shooters.


3. @nikonos_project: The organizers send you a Nikon waterproof 35mm camera, you take shots and send it back in. Features users' grainy, dreamy shots of surfers, sea turtles, and much more from the life aquatic.


4. @shoot_film_: Excellent analog aggregator with a particular eye for portraits.


5. @istillshootfilm_official: The Instagram account of this pillar of the online film photography community is another great place to discover inspiration and talent.


6. @photo.filmy: Mesmerizing account specializing in lush, gritty Americana.


7. @filmshooterscollective: A great aggregator featuring a mix of zany shots, immersive artist takeovers, and a slightly international touch compared to other leading aggregators.


Individual Accounts:

1. @afailuretothrive: Follow Chris Casterline's account and you'll see an American heartland almost devoid of people and gently descending, like a feather on the breeze, toward a quaint decrepitude. Rather than seeking to "make America great again", he's scrupulously cataloging it. Is there a better account to follow, with better images to meditate on, in the Trump era? I haven't found one.


2. @mashallahwallahi: Omar Sarsour shares a singular pastiche of immersive film shots from California and the Middle East, particularly Palestine. A magical combination.


3. @luanabassil: Accounts like this one—raw, untouched, unpolished—are the best of the analog side of Instagram.


4. @miyaramasaaki: This medium-format shooter and designer finds perfect details in her native Japan.


5. @shootfilmboston: Consistently dreamy shots of the American northeast. The style so many film accounts strive to emulate.


6. @sevinaqee: Life through the eyes of a young Greek woman.


7. @joannarentz: Beaches, deserts, bikinis, pool parties, the great outdoors. It's a beautiful life, beautifully captured.


8. @meganshootsfilm: Megan Barrett documents surfers and the coastal lifestyle, and makes you want to quit your job and move to a tent on an empty California beach right now.


9. @brianwertheim: Brian finds the same poignant, soulful eyes in Los Angeles as he does in his work across the Middle East. A very talented portrait and street photographer.


10. @wildsommer: Grit and grain and mountain vistas.


11. @miki_rolleilife: A fellow Rolleiflex enthusiast, with stunning food shots and much more.


12. @jmfranchot: "Black and white, and quite a bit of grey in between" from this French film shooter.


13. @coooolhandluke: Australian Luke Byrne gets color real well.


14. @akiko_furukawa: A Japanese film photographer sharing intimate shots from Estonia to India and more, with a great sense of place.


15. @portedeclignancourt: Spectacular, varied analog shots from a French family's cross-continental RV odyssey around South America, and now life after.


16. @louielumiere: Filmmaker and photographer Louie Salto's best work emerges from piles of tossed-aside clothes on Swedish docks on long summer afternoons, but it's all a feast.


17. @thefutureofwhat: Sara Murphy brings the same gritty America-centric nostalgia to her personal account as she does to @photo.filmy (see above).


18. @fotopaseo: Atmospheric street shots from across Europe and east Asia.


19. @ioegreer: A pro photographer who chose his profession wisely, Joe Greer shoots mostly film in his travels across the world.


20. @t.1972: Spectacular Japanese analog shooter.


21. @jstersurf: You think it's tough for you to use film? Joni Sternbach shoots on tintypes, one of the earliest stable photographic media (dating back as far as the 1850s)! And she shoots intimate, nostalgic, sepia-tinted portraits of surfers. Rad.


I hope you enjoyed this film photography list, and that you had as much fun perusing my "Instagram Favorites" series as I had in compiling it! Lastly, don't forget to follow me on Instagram at @ibnbnbattuta.

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