Galaxy: The Kickstarter That Stole Nearly $70,000 From Photographers

We’re sorry to say it, but we’re never going to get our money back from Galaxy Papers.

There was a time years ago when photographers could easily support the Galaxy Paper system. After all, both our names and Petapixel’s were on them for helping to drive the most funding to their Kickstarter project. But as the years went by, they became more and more silent as they took our money and ran. For analog photographers, one cannot express how much despair and sadness there is from this. They say that wounds heal, but scars don’t. And for lots of photographers, the hole that Galaxy left for us can drive us mad. I had all but forgotten about them and the reps I had tried over and over again to get in communication with. But nothing worked out–and it wasn’t until someone commented on their fully funded Kickstarter back in 2016 that the scars really started to become noticeable again.

All of this started back in 2015. Galaxy Papers was a company that wanted to create direct positive photo paper. It was exciting–and we wrote it about along with a few other blogs. But my specific emails from their reps asked us for our logo. Why? Well, I later found out that it was because they wanted to use it on the packaging. It was a “thank you” of sorts to both Petapixel and us. The paper was popular; it was carried by B&H Photo. Yet despite all of this, I don’t think I’ve ever seen the product in person or even know anyone personally who bought it. It’s not surprising, though, because it’s such a niche. In fact, it’s a niche within several layers of niches. But it’s not uncommon for me to get texts, emails, Facebook messages, etc. from folks who show our logo being used somewhere.

If the company has continued, they probably would have brought some disruptive change to the photo industry.

“The story of Galaxy is similar to that of the Impossible Project except that Galaxy is trying to revive an old Kodak process. According to the company’s Kickstarter page, Kodak discontinued a line of direct positive paper back in the 1970s. For the uninitiated, direct positive paper is photosensitive paper where the image develops right onto the paper. Think of it like a wet plate or a Polaroid except that the paper doesn’t have the chemicals built in for development like Instant film does.”  – Galaxy Wants to Make 20×24″ Direct Positive Photo Paper

Faster forward to 2016 and the company wanted to do yet another Kickstarter. But this wasn’t for 20×24 cameras. Instead, it was for medium format film cameras. Somehow, they had the novel idea to miniaturized it and get medium format photographers very hyped. In fact, they put out two that year in the form of Glass Plates. Again, we reported on it and lead the charge to a bunch of copycat posts across the photo world. Then time went on, and we Kickstarter backers were getting very anxious. We last revisited this story in November of 2017, so I recently went back and looked at the money that Galaxy collected:

The Notebook: $12,331

Hyper Speed 120: $39,550

Dry Plates for Large Format: $15,740

Direct Positive Paper: $37,725 (This is also the only project to have ever brought about any tangible products to its backers.)

In August 2017, they were getting ready to ship their dry plates, but as far as I understand and know, it never happened. After a while, we just stopped following up with them.

But we really wonder what happened to these folks. We know that they had some passing in the family, but we just never heard back from them after that. And it’s also just been so long that folks don’t remember it anymore. I personally, though, am still curious. I’d still like to load a Mamiya 6 up with that paper and shoot. I’d also be happy to use the large format glass plates. The story of all this really excited me back in the day when Andrea Pizzini visited America to show me images from a camera he had been using called the Cube. It used direct positive paper, and the photos were stunning. Alas, no one I know can explain what happened either.

Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.