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How to Save 100,000 Cameras: A Look Inside Camera Rescue

Camera Rescue is a project based in Finland that’s working to rescue 100,000 analog cameras by 2020 in order to preserve them for future generations. Photographer Jordan Lockhart of Cameraville recently traveled to Tampere, Finland, and made this 10.5-minute behind-the-scenes video at the organization’s ambitious endeavor. Lockhart sat down with Camera Rescue core team member Juho Leppänen to talk about what his organization is doing.

In “rescuing” a camera, Camera Rescue finds film cameras that are broken or out of use, repairs them, and returns them to the market for a second chance at life. At the time of this writing, a counter on the project’s homepage shows that it has rescued 46,641 cameras in this way thus far.

One of the biggest challenges faced by Camera Rescue is the lack of qualified camera repair technicians, so they’re putting large efforts toward teaching the younger generation the skills of fixing cameras so that they’re not lost as current technicians age and retire.

And regarding larger issues facing the film photography industry as a whole, Camera Rescue believes there are three things that need to be addressed: (1) there needs to be newly designed mechanical shutters, (2) there needs to be new scanner technology in both hardware and software, and (3) there needs to be new automated film development machines for C-41, B&W, and E6 to keep the barrier of entry low for newcomers.

“[W]e are just getting started,” Camera Rescue writes. “From one to thousands at a time, we rescue cameras from any time period old or new, working or broken. Trade in your old or unwanted camera equipment for cash, and help us with our goal of rescuing 100,000 cameras by 2020.”

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