It might make more sense 20 years ago, but a film and camera vending machine exists in Perth’s CBD.
Yes, as in actual film. You know, the kind that needs developing.
Thing is, not only does the quirky vending machine exist, it’s thriving.
Thicc Boi Film opened WA’s first-ever film vending machine in Raine Square in December 2020, but instead of selecting a Snickers, they offer a decent selection of film – and cameras.
Currently they have cameras worth about $110 in the vending machine, so not exactly those cardboard ones that you used to find on tables at wedding receptions.
So, in a world of smartphones, who on earth are buying these?
Thicc Boi Film owners Kaela and James said it wasn’t just the new generation discovering analogue photography for the first time and “taking a break from their hyper-digital lives”, but the older generations are getting back into it.
“Gen X is picking them back off the shelf as a way to slow down from the hustle,” they told 96FM.
In their first week of opening, the vending machine sold out of cameras, twice.
On a recent Reddit thread, users were pretty curious and keen to use the service, particularly after jumping on the Polaroid bandwagon a couple of years ago.
“I made the mistake of buying a Polaroid camera on eBay as a cool present for someone I loved,” one commented. “To then find out that only one company in the world made Polaroid film and it was insanely expensive. The camera went to waste pretty badly. It broke. Now you find the film every where. Sorry, Xavier.”
Another agreed on the prohibitive cost.
“I love Polaroid. I can’t stomach the cost of film though. Works out to around $4 a photo.”
But trendy Polaroid aside, the online feedback from snappers has been overwhelmingly positive.
“Actually reasonable prices considering how hard some of that stuff is to source,” another Redditor commented. “If the Ektar top left is the old 64 ASA Ekatchrome slide film then it has to be said, even todays modern camera sensors are challenged with its resolution and colour capability.”
“Tmax 3200 is my go to for street photography and at $20 from a vending machine, it’s not even overpriced,” remarked another.
“Tmax and good old Ilford 400 are giving me hella 90s nostalgia,” was yet another. “I just threw out a stack of long forgotten Ilford paper from round about then on the weekend. Quite a few week’s rent back then too!”
While Thicc Boi dispenses what you need to get back into analogue pics without too much investment, they don’t develop film – but there’s still a handful of places that do, including Silver Halide Studios in Mt Lawley and LabWest in Northbridge.
It’s located on the ground floor opposite Boost Juice in Raine Square.