I was introduced to photography the “old-fashioned” way, with a Canon AE-1 fitted with a 50mm f/1.8 lens, rolls of 200 and 400 ISO black and white film, sheets of paper, and a copy of Black and White Photography: A Basic Manual by Henry Horenstein.
I was partial to slide film and particularly loved how silent and meditative the darkroom was. But I put aside my analogue SLR for a digital one a few years ago.
Recently, however, given the my new-found interest in social media and the relative low-cost of a plastic, medium format camera, such as the Holga or the Diana, I have been asking myself: Should I return to my analogue roots?
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It seems Singapore has fully embraced the analogue photography/lifestyle trend. I frequently see shutterbugs with a dSLR slung over one shoulder and a toy camera over the other. Two boutiques I’ve discovered during my city walks:
Thirtysix, a tiny shop tucked away in Sunshine Plaza, is owned by Cindy Tan and Jimmy Phua, founders of a regional online Lomography community, LomotionSG, and 8storeytree, a camera and rare film e-tailer. The store houses a wide array of cameras, accessories, and hard-to-find film. When I asked Cindy why she thought so many photographers, especially young photographers, were now experimenting with film, she said, “There’s no surprise [with digital photography]. It’s that sense of anticipation, of not knowing what will develop, that keeps people coming back for more.”
Peek!, on Armenian Street, opened a few months ago. This airy, quirky, retail space is for “anyone, of any age, who wants to try their hand at analogue photography,” said co-owner Joanne Lim. Peek! is committed to making analogue photography accessible: the store has an exhibition space (the Peek! Workspace) and Joanne and her team have organized a number of photo-taking excursions, such as a scavenger hunt this Saturday, in the hopes of bringing together like-minded individuals.
P.S. Both Cindy and Joanne recommend the Holga 135 (SG$75-SG$80) or the Diana F+ (SG$170-SG$180) for Lomography newbies.