When Film Disappears

As a film photographer, one of the things you just have to get used to is the ever changing landscape of available film stock. Films disappear on a regular basis, and sometimes new ones even take their place (yes, this actually happens!!).

I always think about this inescapable fact whenever I look at this image. It was photographed on Forte film, which I imagine not a lot of people remember. I personally discovered it only a few months before Forte went out of business and always considered it a bit of a cruel joke that I found a film I loved, only to have it yanked from underneath my trigger finger shortly after. It was a beautiful emulsion with a beautifully classic grain structure and it seemed to handle highlights particularly well with a bit of a washed out look that wasn’t ugly or extreme. It was shortly after using Forte that I discovered Fuji Neopan 400, which became my staple stock for many years and was also discontinued eventually.

It can be a serious bummer, but the nice thing about film is the negatives will always remain. With a little luck, this negative, among many others, will be around long after I’m not. Sure, I don’t get to make new images with Forte film, but the old ones will always be there and will look just as good tomorrow as they do today. That is a really comforting thought and means I can keep shooting with what is available now without regret.