Saturday, May 10, 2014

Great start to what could be a historic adventure for all of us

Whew I'm exhausted, but filled with excitement over the prospect of restarting the diffusion transfer reversal arts through the New55 FILM product effort.  A lot of people, like John Reuter, Ted McLelland and Nafis Azad, of 20x24 Studio, deserve thanks for the tremendous support so far. Also to Soundwave Research and its staff, people like Des Fyler and Alex Milne, and many of you who continue to make donations of time, materials and money to this effort.  Sam Hiser is a special organizational genius who came in at the 11th hour and reorganized us for this one-time chance to innovate. There are more.

New55  is an "open source" development program which means a lot of opportunity to share and engage the strengths of the post-digital movement, and the maker movement, each with their own skill sets and visions for the future. No need to repeat the past - we have the future to contend with, to make happen, and to enjoy.

For the many who contributed to the Kickstarter campaign, hats off to you for realizing that industrial innovation is difficult, risky, time consuming and expensive, and for "voting with your wallet".  You see the future like we do. Today, what we choose to buy, is what we choose to support. Great movements in technology and social fabric have been made by lots of small contributions. Look at PBS, for example. It is indeed gratifying to see this can happen when people band together for a common cause.

And New55 is a cause, because we want to have access to analog materials for our future.  Why?  Lots of reasons.  Like, it's fun; it fulfills our artistic desires; and it helps us show others how we see the world through the eye of the big camera; and more.  It is very very clear to me that a majority of our supporters know this explicitly. They know that large corporations (not named!) will discontinue small product lines for special groups. They are too big to efficiently make film, and they have shareholders who are interested in profit as the end result. Nothing wrong with that, but our mission is a bit different: Profit is to sustain continued production of New55 FILM, and other photographic products, into the future. Not just once, but again and again.

It is a new way of doing things, very public, and an experiment to see if a small company, or group, can do something a huge company with everything in place, cannot.

So there is a lot to do, and much opportunity to innovate. We could reinvent some of the manufacturing and supply steps, we could tool up to eventually reach a cost goal that makes sense for our day-to-day use of 4x5 instant films, we can bring new people into the fascinating world of lenses and pinholes alike, and ground glass magic, captured for others to see.



Carl Schulz said...

I am looking forward to dusting off my Graflex. I had only ever shot Polaroid in it. I am looking at trying sheet film (I'll have to process it myself) but instant is what I'm used to. Can't wait to try out New55.

John Reuter said...

The 20x24 Studio team is thrilled to see New55 reach its Kickstarter goal. We look forward to having a little brother in the professional instant photography space, it is a product that has been missed. The months ahead are going to be exciting.