This is intended to be an extension of a conversation under the Most Durable Medium?
post, which seemed to warrant a Photography thread of its own. I'd like to respond to a number of those comments, but I thought it would be worth creating a starter thread to do that here, before everyone has already said their piece on the subject in the Lounge -- where other interested folks are unlikely to find them.
Ironically, it seems that it's Film Photography, not Digital Photography, which has to justify its existence these days. Amateurs have swarmed to digital; that jury is already out. I'd wager there are a very scant number of commercial photographers who work in film today, although they may not have given it up on a personal basis. As suggested by joemikeb, local sources for film processing, cameras, processing equipment, or supplies are drying up. Film photographers might appreciate some leads (or a support group) in that regard.
Perhaps the one place film might hold its own is in the area of printmaking, especially in black & white imaging? The physical characteristic of film and the chemistry of development and papers unique to that process, are categorically, even if sometimes subtly, different from digital output. Is the concept of an "original and/or a "limited edition" more meaningful in film? I know that there are digital View Camera "backs" (also incredibly expensive), but I don't know how they compare to the original dedicated View Cameras in film. I came to photography from the digital side, so I'd be particularly interested in what film buffs have to say about this.
The potential combinations of inks, printers and substrates for digital printing are almost endless and accessible, now, of course, (which is also where astonishingly high resolution originals really strut their stuff). And yet digital printmaking (film too?) receives proportionately less attention in today's internet connected universe all the time. As an unfortunate consequence of that, the demands of computer based, low resolution, intangible, rectangular display have become a serious inhibitor of innovation, IMO. I have additional plaints on that score, but I hope this is enough to see where such a discussion might lead -- or at least supply a live topic in the Audio, Video, Photography Forum.