The Photography Show 2024 - An Analogue Viewpoint

By Paul McKay

The dust has settled on 2024's Photography and Video Show: our stock is safely back in the warehouse, the van has been handed back to the hire company, and our team have each had 48 hours of recovery sleep 😴 And even more importantly our photo lab has finished processing the 35mm films I shot!

So I think it's time to pause and reflect on an incredible time, remember our favourite moments, and look ahead to the future. Spoiler alert: the future is bright and shaped like a film!

 

Man taking a photo on film from The Photography Show

I can't wait to see the photo that Edwin took of me at this same moment...

 


 

The People

 

Nearly 30,000 people to be precise. Passionate photographers of all ages and backgrounds crowding into the NEC over four days to learn, mingle, and see all the latest gear. Or in our case, some of the latest gear and also some gear that's been around since the 1960s (shout out to Kodak Tri-X!)

Amongst those people were some of our loyal customers, our recent ambassadors, and new friends who were inducted into the joys of film photography over a coffee and chat. Our position overlooking the Analogue Showcase stage allowed us to enjoy talks from analogue inspirations like Corrine Gretton-West, Kate Hook, Miles Myerscough-Harris, Dave Faulkner and Rachel Brewster-Wright.

 

Miles doing a talk at The Photography Show 2024

Miles on Kodak Ultramax 35mm, shot by Paul McKay with his Lomography LC-A+ camera

 

We learned about Multiple Exposures, Darkroom Magic, Wet Plate Collodions, and the challenges of shooting sports on film! And I spent a happy half hour on both Saturday and Sunday exploring my favourite topic: the joy of film 🥰

 

Paul talk on The Joy Of Film at The Photography Show

The view from the Analogue Stage during the final nervous pre-talk moments 🤗

 

Meanwhile on the 'Shoot to Inspire' stage our ambassador Khandie was making a splash with her talk on shooting big in small towns. An incredible entertaining and informative half hour, awesome job Khandie!

 

Khandie doing a talk about film photography at the photography show 2024

 

And after the show wound down each day we headed to the bars to continue discussing film and comparing gear and portfolios with analogue shooters from all around the world. It was Mandy's birthday 🎂 so extra reason for celebration.

  

Beer and film cameras at the photography show 2024

"No actually I think that the Simpsons camera has a much better lens than the Barbie, although overall build quality is probably similar" - Mike from West Yorkshire Cameras showcasing his deep expertise

 


 

The Brands

 

There were plenty of fantastic analogue brands for folks to see. We were lucky enough to once again be situated right next to Harman Photo and Ilford, and shouting distance from Paterson and Intrepid Cameras.

 

Harman and Ilford at The Photography Show 2024

Hannah holding the fort! 

 

Rachel had a Little Vintage Photography area where she ran cyanotype workshops as well as shot and developed large format portraits for customers to enjoy.

 

Rachel shooting large format film portraits at the photography show 2024

I cannot imagine the stress of hand developing large format sheets in front of paying clients... Rachel you are awesome

 

James Lane was extolling the virtues of developing with 510 Pyro and previewing a new developer he's working on. Peter was taking pre-orders for 120 Kodak Vision film as ThisIsHowIRoll and Dave was showing his latest Alfie Camera.

So whether you care about films, film cameras, home developing, or film accessories - there was lots to get excited about! 

 

Intrepid Large Format Cameras at The Photography Show

Intrepid's cameras are so beautiful and in real life they are a magnet for analogue shooters from miles away! Those bellows...

 

I also got to enjoy some of the incredible exhibitions, including SheClicks (a community elevating female photographers across the UK) who were there with a stand and an incredible gallery of images.

 

SheClicks exhibit at The Photography Show

The beginning of an entire wall of stunning photos from SheClicks

 


 

The Future

 

One of my favourite things about the Photography Show is the mix of current products and future products. So you can really get a sense of where the photography industry is moving, and what trends are likely to gain/lose momentum in the coming years. For example the drone presence was a tiny fraction of what it was 2 years ago!

And this is also true for film photography. We got to play with Keks lightmeters as well as some really cool film-focused photography gear from Long Weekend. You can expect to see both of those in our store shortly!

 

Keks lightmeter at the photography show

I loved the analogue area with the Keks lightmeters 🥰

 

We (unsuccessfully 😂) begged Lomography for some samples of the Lomomatic - but were assured that the different models should be heading our way before too long.

We had a wonderful time chatting to some engineers about what a modern commercial film lab needs, and there are machines and capabilities coming in the next couple of years that are going to vastly accelerate the ability of our film lab to process your rolls in a fast and consistent manner!

 

Film Processor at the photography show 2024

So remind me where I pour the bleach?

 

We also had some top secret discussions about projects that are much closer to fruition than I'd expected. I WISH I COULD SAY MORE RIGHT NOW! But instead I will just say... watch this space 🤫 📸 🤐

As for next year, we hear it's going to be in London at the ExCel centre before returning to Birmingham in 2026. Hopefully this allows more people to attend across the two year period, and we already have some ideas to make the analogue area even more epic!

 


 

Reflections

 

I am constantly in awe of the folks who run the show. The work beforehand and the energy required across the 6 days (including pre-build and deconstruct slots) is unimaginably impressive.

And what they do is unique in the UK: bringing together photographers of all types to spend time immersed in the hobby we love. It gives small businesses like ours a chance to meet our community, persuade a couple more people to join it (!), and share stories and ideas with other organisations across the spectrum of image-making.

So while we always get nervous in the build up - will anyone come? will anyone care about film? does anyone there still shoot 35mm?! - I'm thrilled that we are able to turn up and join the analogue representation. Thank you to everyone who came and chatted to us, bought from us, or said nice things about what we do. Thanks also to my team: Max, Amy, Karen, Chris, Charlotte, Hannah, Carl, Will and Rosalie who gave up their weekends, travelled to Birmingham, and were a fantastic representation of analogue passion.

It's a truly wonderful event to be involved in. And even better when I manage to convert someone new to film 😉

 

Start shooting film - at the photography show

 

Were you there, what did you think? And do you reckon you'll be coming along to the ExCel next year?


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