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People In the Industry: International Film Swap (Part 1)

Explore the International Film Swap, a group of film photographers swapping rolls of film across the globe to share experiences, moments, and frames. How did International Film Swap Group first start? Where are you based? What are the rules of swapping film? I have been shooting film since 2013. I have read about and did some…

Explore the International Film Swap, a group of film photographers swapping rolls of film across the globe to share experiences, moments, and frames.

How did International Film Swap Group first start? Where are you based? What are the rules of swapping film?
I have been shooting film since 2013. I have read about and did some double exposures myself on film and found them quite interesting. I have seen on the internet, many analog photographers have already swapped film and created some eccentric images. I contacted a few of them and requested to swap film with me. Some were too busy, some lost interest in it and some did not reply. I needed film swappers, so I thought, I will create this. I created International Film Swap Group on all the social networks I know.

I am based out of India. But I have got in touch with Russians (and the surrounding countries), Europeans, Eurasians, Americans, Latins and Australians (and the surrounding countries) with my elaborate research on various social networks. We all are swapping film with each other. We still did not manage to get into the African continent, we are still trying to find film swappers there.

17296287661_4329903d8f_o (1)Shot on film by Lobster contributor, David Swift

What are the rules of swapping film?
Not many rules. We should follow some practices, though, so that our images turn out great. The novices, need not follow them, they can just get their hands dirty and learn from their experience. (Many times, not following these practices yield great results.) Observing dignity of every film swapper as a person, not stereotyping any country or its people, using English in the common chats as much as possible are a few rules. (I have to emphasize, there is no payment to be a member. Neither to get acquaintance with other film swappers nor to swap film with them. It is an absolutely free service without any hidden costs to promote the artistic movement. Who buys film, who gets it processed or processes themselves is completely a mutual agreement between the swappers.)

5917754939_99b635780d_oShot on film by Lobster contributor, aleksandrovaola

What are some of the best outcomes you’ve seen come out of film swapping?

The Russians keep chatting about Analog Cameras and film rolls (of course in Russian) in the VK chat group I created. Never, ever, had I seen a Russian (or a member from the surrounding countries) break the rules.
Two of our Instagram members did a project before they joined us, but when we requested if we can share their work on other social networks, both of them happily agreed. With such broad-minded donations, we could attract more members into our movement on other social networks (broadmindedness and willing to promote the artistic movement). Two members came forward to help me out in maintaining our social networks. One manages the Instagram account now, and the other manages our Tumblr account.

7189903329_cd63f348d3_oShot on film by Lobster contributor, Anton Novoselov

What are some of your biggest inspirations in photography?
Personally, I have no inspirations at all. In fact, I don’t even know the names of those greatest photographers around the world. My intention is simple: To promote film in India (primarily) and to encourage film swaps across the world
(secondarily). (Some Indians don’t even know that film is being sold on e-shopping sites) And to promote healthy relationships among analog shooters from different countries. And….there are many!

But at a point of time, I was interested in Pictorialism, an artistic movement which falls in between painting and photography. One day, I want to process my own film and develop photographs in such a style. That is a long-term goal though.

Read part two on the  Lobster Blog – Out Wednesday 13st October

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