I’m not what you’d really call a “camera collector”, although I’ve collected enough over the years that it’s been a long-running joke between myself and several friends that “he who dies with the most cameras, wins”. I buy cameras, including film cameras, in order to use them. They have a purpose when I acquire them, and then I just don’t get rid of them.
I think we’d all lose to Juho Leppänen and the team at the Camera Rescue, though. It’s their goal to rescue 100,000 film cameras by 2020. Jordan Lockhart from Cameraville went to visit Juho in Finland to find out more about Camera Rescue and what they do with all these cameras.
Camera Rescue has been going since 2010, and in that time they’ve so far rescued 46,711 film cameras from ending up on the scrap heap. So, their goal of 100,000 cameras might seem somewhat ambitions given that we’re already two months into 2019. But what exactly does it mean to “rescue” a camera? Camera Rescue takes in cameras that are broken or otherwise not being used – possibly not for decades. They clean them, repair them, and then put them back out into the market to gain a new lease on life.
But cameras is not all they’re collecting. They also seem to be collecting highly experienced camera repair technicians, too, which are in very short supply these days. Most of them are getting to the point where they’d like to retire. Right now they’re actively seeking a younger generation of people to come in and learn from those camera repair ninjas to be able to keep repairing them well into the future.
As well as highlighting their own efforts, it’s an interesting take on the state of the film photography industry from an organisation that’s dealing with a whole heck of a lot of them right now. They say that new shutters need to be developed, scanners and their software need to be redesigned and modernised, and that there needs to be new easy film developing machines widely available for black & white, C-41 and E-6 film processing. Well, I certainly wouldn’t disagree with that last one. Jobos are still quite pricey on the used market, and the chemicals are also rather expensive (and they may be about to get even more so).
Since I started writing this post, four more cameras have been added to the list, with the counter on their website currently standing at 46,715. They’ve got a long way to go to hit 100K, but if you’ve got any old or broken cameras laying around gathering dust, you might want to get in touch.
You can find out more on the Camera Rescue website.