Saturday, March 5, 2016

eulogy for FP-100c ? or a wish for a sick friend-1000 cranes for fp-100c legacy

My life has always had a peel-apart camera in it. FP-100c is the best film of the lots. It has allowed me to grow as a photographer and make experiments I would never attempt on another film stock. If it dies a big part of me will die with it.
    The world of instant photographers has felt a giant ebb in the force. The future of how humans retain and share memories will be forever changed.
       Fuji Film has announced that they will no longer produce the last peel apart film made for millions of polaroid land cameras. While the FILM in fuji film is now a very small percentage of the overall companys 'mainly digital hardware trade, the peel apart division is an even smaller part. People have wondered if the entire budget of the division is as big as FUJIFILMs budget for television advertising of the latest digital model. The sad thing is that long after the last of the model cameras are gone and forgotten there will still be millions of peelapart prints on display around the world, A legacy of a product that has so many facets of unique ness that make it great in many different groups of people.
        For some people an fp-100c is the only print they have ever had of themselves. You can hold it, you don't need batteries to look at it ,you are not likely to take a photo of a stranger with your cell phone and give them the phone afterwords, in other words it builds bridges between people.
     As a tool for teaching , its been used from everything from the obvious ,photography, to therapy.
As a tool for photographers it has been indespensible for proofing on the commercial side and endless varieties of creative endevors from portraiture to techniques unique to the formula such as image transfers and emulision lifts. Others reclaim the negatives from this film and scan them or even make extra large black and white darkroom prints. There is no other film stock made that can do these things. There are also many cameras that can only take this film format. It seems like this customer base is a legacy that is at the mercy of the company , if the goal is just money ,why not raise the price-look at what consumers will pay for the Impossible Project products which retail for up to three times a frame more than FP-100c. Other instant film products including FUJIFILMS own instax line  fail to deliver performance anywhere near the level of FP-100c. For the last few years I wondered why fujifilm was making such a bad business move by so obiviously underpriceing a product that was the best and ONLY product on the market.

I have come to think its not about the bottom line but about real estate. Instax is a runaway best seller for the division, the demand cannot be met, thus production must be increased ,floor space is needed -there you have it.  FORGET about the fact that Instax is a gateway to instant photography ,and many of the users move on to fp-100c which has a quality level and flexibily far above instax. Forget about how there is a large base of users already owning cameras that will only work with this film. Forget about soul, art, expression which can be done in ways that will never be achived with an integral film. Forget about a hold in your hand tactile Legacy that every FP-100C print has the power to be. The force has taken a turn to the dark side. But being an optimist I have to have hope, to have a wish, a dream...
         There is a folktale that many people in the world are familiar with about folding of one thousand paper cranes. The wish is made true when the 1000th crane is folded. Wedding gifts may also sometimes be 1000 cranes for luck. So what I am saying is that folding paper cranes is a positive thing, like holding a fresh fp-100c print in your hand. What about combining the two? It could be even better, and if it didn't make our wish true it at least would make us take positive actions that could bring more joy into the world. So I am taking an instant photo of a paper crane and sending it to the FUJI FILM headquarters in tokyo. I will take a photo of that print and the envelope first and ask people to repost it in their own social networks and to also send a photo to japan. Thanks and lets hope!!