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Kodak bankrupt it’s the end of an era

I felt a twinge of sadness today on hearing the news that Kodak have filed for bankruptcy protection. Being a photographer of a certain age I began my career using Kodak products and spent many an hour loading dark slides with Ektachrome as well as Nikons with Tri-x. The sadness doesn’t come from feeling sorry for the company – that’s their fault and they had a good run for their (our) money – but from realising that the world has changed and photography will never be the same. Digital technology has arrived and is here to stay and I for one love it – the quality and instant results just cannot be ignored, but it has sentenced an entire industry and in some respects a way of life to the scrap heap in a very short space of time.

Just ten years ago I would buy a few hundred sheets of 5″ x 4″ film and a few boxes of Polaroid 54 and I’d be ready for a day’s shoot. At the end of the day there would be that nervous wait while the lab processed the first few sheets of film; did I remember to stop the lens down? Did the assistant load the film the right way round? Did the lab drop all the film in the bottom of the machine? Did the courier get knocked off his bike on the way back to the studio? All these things and more happened at some time or other and all these thoughts would be sitting at the back of my mind putting me off my post shoot beer with the art director. Then what a sense of relief when the film arrived back and all was well!

Now it is all so easy which admittedly means a lot less worrying but also it has made photography a less engaging pastime and in a sense removed the craft from the whole thing which is for me where the sadness lies.

Good luck Kodak in saving yourself – Fujifilm seem to be doing OK so take a leaf out of their book.
Andy Eaves