There are things I will always love about the US. For example, when they have to demolish something big instead of doing the sensible thing they stick a big chunk of dynamite on it and blow it up. I love those chaps. That’s what happened with Kodak’s oldest film facility a few days ago, it was mid-july and them lucky guys at Rochester NY, the holy city of Kodak, were lucky enough to have a second Independence Day fireworks display, with some delay. Boom went the dynamite and with it more than 90 years of filmmaking industry crumbled unelegantly. This was very indicative of the current state of affairs in Kodak nowadays.
Yes, I’m going to bash Kodak. About the title: I didn’t mean the ‘I will love you forever’ kind of special, rather the below 70IQ kind of special.
I mean, sometimes I laugh at Leica because being the dominant pro choice it was relegated to the amateur market, but now that I think about it, Kodak’s history is far worse than this. I mean: Leica was a market leader for maybe 12 unconsecutive years, but Kodak was king, and I mean KING for more than one hundred years and still managed to bite the dust loud. Yes, we will still get those yellow boxes with film cause the British Kodak Pension Plan bought it and is now a separate company. Thank you, british pensioners: we wouldn’t get any more yellow bliss without you anymore.
I really find it hard to feel sympathy for Kodak. When it filed for bankruptcy in 2012 I was utterly worried, because, you know, guys, I try to support my aristocratic lifestyle on selling film cameras to you and it would be awful if everybody stopped making film cause I would have to quit condor eggs and and sturgeon roe. That doesn’t mean that I didn’t tell Mr. Kodak “you had it coming, young man!”.
Really, Kodak brought all this upon themselves. I mean: they were that kind of company. If you have one, don’t be that kind of company, for Cthulhu’s sake. Yes, historically Kodak has characterized itself for being the the jerkest film company around: they invented new film formats just to make users and labs spend on new cameras and lab equipment and, being terribly aggressive about their own patents, they stole other people’s.
No, this is not a karma tale. I would love the story to follow like: “and then, boys and girls, the evil corporation had become so evil that everybody stopped buying from them because of that and it had to file for Chapter 11, which means Hasta la Vista, Baby, End of Fun”. But no, despite all its corporate evil, what destroyed Kodak was the assumption that with digital imaging technology being around, all casual snapshooters in this wretched world would totally ignore what was more convenient for them and keep buying film just because Kodak was great. Wrong.
I mean, it was them who invented the digital camera. They got the breakthrough and they completely refused to implement and market it. Ultimately, they failed because they betrayed their very roots: they choose to be a chemical corporation instead of a photography enterprise.
As you know, both casual and pros had fled from film in the decade between 1995-2005, with us amateurs of varying levels of seriousness, silver addicted as we are, remaining the sole and last film users. Before 1995 we amateurs bought maybe 3% of the film, being generous. Now, while in total numbers we may be more or less the same, we buy 99% of the film. Legion, bro.
I understand you, man: it’s so lonely out here.
But fortunately for you, I have what you need: the friend that will make you company just forever in that lonely film world. When I say I have it I mean I have it in my store, and when I say forever I say at least as long as my guarantee stands, and when I say friend I really mean a camera.