Can You Picture a World Without Kodak ?

kodak support page
Kodak Support Page

Are we facing a world without Kodak?

There are doubts spreading about the financial status of Kodak, compounding years of downward trending for the photo imaging giant.

Rumors of bankruptcy are driving stock prices way down, and many people are talking bleak futures for the one-time driver of the photo industry.

From the Associated Press: Kodak shares plunge as bankruptcy fears escalate

Update: Kodak tries to quash bankruptcy fears; shares jump

Still, questions remain.

If you enjoy film, old prints, the history of photography in the, say, 20th century, then you may find it as hard, as I do, to imagine a world where Kodak doesn’t exist.

So many of the world’s great image were made on Kodak films, and papers, often with Kodak lenses, and even more likely, on all the amateur cameras now moldering in basements, attics, yard sales, as the digital death dirge plays over the land.

As a teacher of photography,ย  just last night, I had to explain to a student that the images he was talking about were ‘slides’; a word he didn’t even know. Film is not dead.

Long live film!

Other small companies have been beginning to flourish, now that the big tree of Kodak has thinned enough that they can now see the light.

Kodak had already ceased making any of their fine b+w printing papers.

Ilford Harman is continuing in their commitment to silver-based imaging as well. See Ilford Pinhole Photography Kit Harman Technology Titan Pinhole Camera, and they are still producing Ilford black & white printing papers.

It’s a Friday night now as I write this. I’m going to have an adult beverage while I ponder this potential loss to my ‘photo world mindset’.

I can only hope that the rumors of it’s death are premature, misguided, and false.

What do you think? How will the world of imaging look without Kodak? Do you even care? COMMENT below.




Author: P U

9 thoughts on “Can You Picture a World Without Kodak ?

  1. It is quite hard to think that a company that has made leaps and bounds within the photography industry is possibly going down the gurgler ๐Ÿ™ I think I shall join you in that adult beverage with the sad thought that this huge icon may disappear

    1. There have been several smaller companies to dissolve in the fixer, but the big yellow cheese? I’m still having a hard time getting my mind around it.

      Kodak is denying the rumors, but there are a lot of news articles fueling the doubts.

      Let’s hope it’s all a puff of flash powder smoke…
      Here’s to Eastman Kodak. Bottoms up, Linda.

  2. “I don’t care what they say, I can’t stay……in a world without Kodak”
    with apologies to Chad and Jeremy

  3. I used film for 52 years, mainly Kodak but then moved to Fuji because I found it to be superior.
    I have shot digital for the past 8 years and would never go back to film under any circumstances.
    Digital is more fun, it’s cheaper, you can experiment, learn more, and the output is better than film.

    How many of you film lovers still listen to vinyl records and drive a car with manual transmission?
    Give it a rest. Even Ken Rockwell can’t find any converts back to film.

    Digital is the best think that has happened to photography in years. Even National Geographic has to admit that since many of their photograpers use digital. Kodak didn’t change fast enough and got eaten up.

    1. HI Peter,
      Thanks for the comments.

      I see digital as a plus, adding to the great wealth of expressive photo tools; not as an either/or. Film and digital have different aesthetics, of shooting, editing, printing. Both have their better points.

      Kodak was one of the first major innovators in DSLR’s, but they didn’t manage their business plans so well, alas.

      As to digital being cheaper, not when all the attendant computer costs, storage HDD’s, quality printers, inks, papers, etc., and initial camera costs are added in. I think the wet darkroom still edges out digital, except for the dedicated space needs.

      Were you a Velvia fan?

      1. After reading Peter’s post I was not sure what to think. I still listen to vinyl records in my wet darkroom and drive a convertible with a six speed manual transmission and love every second of it. I also have two iPods, a smart phone, a digital camera and a computer; I like those too.

        But what really gives me satisfaction with my photography is the act of just doing it with film. Since I shoot mostly with an 8×10 view camera every attempt at capturing an image is special to me. I remember each one. Add to this the mystery of what developing the film will reveal. Did I get the exposure right? Was the composition appealing? Was my effort worth it? Then all that transitions to the darkroom experience; the erie low light, the smell of the stop and fix, the magic of the dodge and burn to finally producing a pleasing print. And don’t forget the crack and pops of the real vibrations of the music and voices caught on the vinyl records.

        Digital capture is here to stay, fun and can produce some stunning results in skilled hands. Long live digital. Film has been around for well over a century and will always have its place in photography. Long live film. I hope and pray “Long live Kodak film.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *