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Generation Z loves old cameras

Camille Labrecque bought her first digital camera a few years ago, when she was 15 years old. By then, iPhones and other smartphones were already catching on. But like many Gen Zers, his interest in photography blossomed thanks to vintage cameras.

“My phone didn’t have as many settings as the camera, which I found most personal,” says 21-year-old Camille Labrecque. “You can play with a lot of settings, and that makes photography more realistic as an activity,” explains the one who inherited her father’s passion.

Despite the advent of social networks such as Instagram, where photos in circulation are often of high quality and retouched, many young people in their twenties are now picking up old models of cameras, whether film, digital or Polaroid, in a kind of return to photography. sources. And the devices that are popular among young people are not of professional caliber and sell for several thousand dollars: they are mostly the small, accessible, inexpensive models that were so popular during the 2000s.

Recently, Camille Labrecque has turned to analog models (also known as film or film cameras), whose images are frozen on film inserted into the case and which need to be developed further.

She is not the only one who has made this transformation. The hashtag #filmcamera (“film camera”) has over 760 million views on TikTok. Several videos featuring this hashtag with hundreds of thousands of views have been produced by young people, who explain how the device works and show the photos that were produced.

In the new technology, something is missing. It is very clean, very good. We don’t find the organic texture and process characteristic of film cameras.

The hashtag #digitalcamera (“digital camera”, in French) has had more than 300 million views. Charles Girard specifically opted for a digital camera on his trip to Tokyo this summer. The 19-year-old college student could certainly have contented himself with his phone to immortalize the best moments of his trip, but he believes the end result will not be the same. “When you go on a trip, a digital camera is better because you want to print the pictures and render them in real life, which I wouldn’t do with phone pictures,” he explains.

In the UK, online shopping site eBay told the BBC that the number of searches on the site for “retro digital cameras” increased by 13% in the last three months of 2022. Searches for “refurbished cameras” increased by 52%. during the same period. a period.

More than just a trend

If the popularity of these oldies is growing exponentially among young people in the Anglo-Saxon world, Quebec is not to be outdone. At least that’s what Bobby Tanotasi, owner of Photo Tek Canada, notes. Located on rue du Mont-Royal, not far from rue Saint-Laurent, Montreal, hidden action hides in the urban fauna. But the inside turns out to be a real Ali Baba cave for anyone who loves photography.

“Everything we sell is handmade,” explains Bobby, who has run the shop for 20 years. Behind his nightstand, he points proudly at the various cameras that line the shelves of his room. We see older devices, which should be worth a small fortune, as well as smaller models, within the reach of the largest number of people. The back room is a convivial bric-a-brac, with various devices jumbled stacked on top of each other.

He believes that “retro cameras are a throwback to the basics.” “In the new technology something is missing. It’s so clean, so good. We don’t find the texture and the organic process of film cameras.”

For several years he noticed a growing interest in these things among the young men of the Mont-Royal plateau. “Before the epidemic, Loving Interest in hardware kicked in, and interest increased during the pandemic.” “After the pandemic, I thought it would stop, but no! during the passage duty In the store, one Saturday afternoon, a young customer was already passing by to get a camcorder, her first.

“We see a lot of students passing by who take up photography as a hobby,” says Zach Latta. Newly hired in the profession, the young woman is also passionate. “There’s a special feeling that comes with the old equipment,” she says. “That’s the element of surprise. With an iPhone, you get what you see, but with a film camera you don’t know until you develop the images. For her, going back to things like this isn’t just a fad or a trend.” Everyone’s going back to shooting cameras! »

Bobby Tanotasi notes that his work is popular with an ever-growing number of photography enthusiasts. “I have clients who buy their first devices until they are 11,” he says, smiling. “I also have a client who is 14 years old and has a collection of 20 cameras. I want to cheer him up, so sometimes I give him small devices as gifts.”

Like what, despite the high-quality goals of smartphones, some young people choose to abandon them in favor of models known to their parents and grandparents. Back to basics? Searching for originality? Do you want to be more involved in the filming process? Maybe a little of all of those.

Let’s see in the video

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