The Cameraventures team recently launched the Save Analog Photography project to see the current status of film photography in the world and know where it is heading in the future. Thousands of participants of the survey came from different parts of the world. Among these, there were 316 film photographers from the Philippines who participated in the Save Analog Cameras survey.
An important question that Cameraventures wanted to answer with the Save Analog Photography survey is where film photographers purchase their films and analog cameras. This paints the current status of film photography in the Philippines and if such allowed growth.
Filipino film photographers get creative when it comes to sourcing the items that they need for this hobby and passion. Because of the apparent limitations in a country that does not have an abundant supply of films and gear, just like in the West, one has to be smart about it.
To keep shooting, film photographers in the Philippines use different methods to source out their films.
With the easy access to almost everything through the internet, most people would consider this alternative as the most popular. However, it is surprising that many film photographers in the Philippines purchase their stock of film in a local store and in person.
Around 48 percent of the total participants from the Philippines said that they purchase their films locally and in person. The next group said that they buy films through an online store and this made up for about 41 percent of the total participants. Six percent look for the cheapest option available on eBay and Amazon while five percent have other options.
Those who chose other options purchase their films from different Facebook groups and communities, which totaled to 40 percent. The others get their films from trips abroad, friends and family, or directly from Fujifilm Philippines.
There are only a few shops in the Philippines that sell film photos. This also varies depending on how big the city you’re in and if there’s a strong demand for it locally. In Manila, there are quite a number of brick and mortar shops that carry films. Some of these shops can be found in malls, which makes the purchase quite a breeze. Other large cities, like Cebu, only have a few shops. In the province, however, finding one can be a challenge.
This is where online shops come in. Recently, a few (local) online shops have opened to sell films. Such is a positive development in the Philippines’s film community. This allows film photographers to have easy access to films and have these shipped right to their address. Instead of purchasing abroad, films can be sourced locally with a good selection of online shops.
However, many of these people do not just get their films from one source. Most use multiple of methods in buying film. Majority buy their films both in person and online. Doing so ensures that you get the best deals on films and have a supply whenever the need be.
In purchasing cameras, most of the Filipino film photographers purchase from a Facebook group, forum or online hobbyist gathering. This accounts for 131 participants or 42 percent of the total survey respondents. The next group of 91 participants opts for a local store or in-person purchases. Around 41 participants get theirs from hobbyist gatherings. The rest already source their analog cameras through different online platforms, such as eBay, Etsy, Cameraventures, or other localized eBay type of service.
For participants who chose other options, most of them get cameras from family especially parents who used film cameras. Others scour through different thrift shops and most notably from the streets of Quiapo, Manila.
There are not too many physical shops that sell film cameras. In bigger cities, like Manila, you can still find a few that sell used analog cameras, mostly sold by labs or old camera technicians. Although it is a challenge, purchasing a camera personally can be a great experience. Most shops that sell cameras can talk you through the settings and how to use the camera. Having a one-on-one discussion is a good learning experience, especially for newbies.
In spite of the geographical problem that the Philippines might be facing because it is an archipelago, there is a strong analog community that continues to thrive online. Facebook groups, such as Lomomanila Marketplace, serve as a source of analog cameras from different parts of the country. This is also an avenue for different photographers to sell cameras and gears. This exchange fuels the community and encourages newcomers to keep at it.
A majority of the film photographers in the Philippines prefer both local stores and online stores in purchasing film and analog cameras. However, when it comes to film, most of the survey respondents buy films in person. For analog cameras, on the other hand, most go for Facebook groups. Purchasing in person or at a local store only comes next.
Author: Ana Melissa Ortiz