Into the Future of Analog Photography

When hearing the term analog photography, do you imagine a man in a suit, sticking his head underneath a rag and operating a giant camera on a tripod? This is where the re-start of Tetenal breaks expectations: Analog photography may be vintage, but by no means outdated nor obsolete. First and foremost, it is one thing: The true art of photography. Like audiophiles swear by the sound quality of vinyl records, there’s nothing better for fine art photography than pure, classic analog photography.

Despite the stigma, these photographers are absolutely moving within the spirit of the time. A great example is Russian artist Lina Bessonova, whose brain we’ve picked for an interview. Her attributes: Blue hair, tattoos, a dear love for Metallica and almost over 16,000 followers on Instagram. As a special for the re-start of Tetenal, she tells us about her project, big names in the photo industry, connecting photographers for “analog dialogues”, and much more!

„Hi Lina! You were the mediator at the Analog Dialogues round table, and now we are here to ask you some questions! How did you come up with the idea of the event?“

The film community itself was the source of inspiration! I’ve met so many passionate, talented humans online, that an eventual meetup was unavoidable. However, I’ve also always been curious about the other half of the analog world: the industry itself. With PhotoKina being a big, but too hectic of an event, it was kind of logical to separate the analog sector and make a smaller, more exclusive gathering. Marwan, the PhotoKlassik editor-in-chief, along with other Akademie team members, was so enthusiastic and supportive, and then all the CEOs he contacted were willing to come! That made me realise, it’s not just the film photographers who are amazing. The industry guys are pretty awesome too! And they are willing to talk to the community, to be seen, to show their human side and to hear our opinions and concerns.

„So what are your concerns about the analog industry?“

With the process requiring so much water, chemistry, paper, gelatine, and plastic packaging, the attractiveness of the medium for an eco-conscious public is quite low. Here we can debate on how digital photography is ruining the planet possibly much more, and we might come to a conclusion that analog, with limited amount of shots and chemistry as toxic as household cleaning sprays, could actually be a better choice for the planet, but it’s not a competition for being the least bad guy. Film photography has a huge potential for being a medium of choice for those who seek a mindful and sustainable way of creating memories and art, but it’s up to the big companies to rethink and redesign parts of their production, and I am quite hopeful about that.

„And what about your personal plans!“

Since I fell in love with film, I’ve always been looking for ways to make this beautiful medium more widely known and accessible. Not everyone is lucky to have a personal or community darkroom, and even bathroom darkrooms are a luxury, with many people co-renting or having families with kids. Another issue I see is the lack of systematised, up-to-date knowledge about the process. A lot of wonderful books on printing refer to papers and chemicals that aren’t produced anymore! And internet forums often contain contradicting or plain wrong advise. I started doing workshops, and I loved guiding people through the darkroom magic, but I feel I could do more, and on a bigger scale. I want to understand fully how everything works. The chemical production, the industry, the market, what is possible to do to overcome the above mentioned challenges. And just do it, one step at a time.

Bio

Lina Bessonova is a Russian-born analog photographer and printer, based between Cote-d-Azur and Tuscany. After having graduated with an MFA in Photography in 2017, she has been working on personal and commercial projects, along with giving photography classes and actively promoting and explaining the darkroom process on social media.

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History of Tetenal

Take a deep dive into the 172 years of Tetenal’s history and explore the unique story of a brand that is now ready to open the next chapter in consumer film photography.

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