Mendeleev’s periodic table of the elements is 150 years old. Hurrah!
Film is back. Hurrah!
Film cameras are no longer made and will die out. Boo!
Some people are planning to make new film cameras. Hurrah!
Some people sell new film cameras. Hurrah!
Silver is running out. Boo!
So our revival could be short-lived. Silver is less abundant than uranium (surprise) but more abundant than gold. Part of the problem is that people don’t dissolve gold in photographic fixer and pour it down the sink. The main risk is probably mobile phones though. Everyone’s gotta get their upgrade. There is an estimate of over one million phones traded-in every month in the UK, ten million in Europe and twelve million in the USA. That’s where your silver is going, along with all the other rare elements.
What will happen is that the price of silver will increase rapidly before it finally vanishes. If you think film is expensive now, wait until it’s competing with smartphones.
I suppose the one light in the looming darkness is that, come the apocalypse, at least we will know that we can excavate the landfill sites as a source of raw materials.
What can you do? Keep your phone longer. Recycle. Pour your old fixer onto a wad of steel wool and let it stand before pouring it away. This plates the silver out onto the iron or drops it as sludge. You will be pouring less of a precious and rather toxic metal down the sink. What to do with silvery Brillo pads I’m not sure, but given enough silver sludge there will be a metal recycler who would handle it.
But enjoy film while you can. Before long we will all be shooting cyanotypes.
And if you shoot digital and are feeling smug, have a look at the number of rare elements used in screens, processors and lenses.
Think of the money I saved from those holes