That Kodak Moment

Started in 1889, the Eastman Kodak Company has been part of all our lives. Much like today’s generation where terms like “Google” means search, or “Facebook me” means get in touch, the “Kodak moment” has been part of all of our lives, and has always meant a special moment in time that has been captured on film.

Being a photographer, and one who was taught using film and processing my own film (and subsequently spending years in the dark), I can speak from my own experience and say that film is officially dead. I remember my days in art school, and if you were in the photography program, the darkroom was your night club. We would spend days, nights, weeks in the darkroom. The ones who were “serious” about photography would make photographs on film, and process their own film and make their own prints. Digital was emerging, but if you were serious about photography, you shot on film.

Photographers have always imbued film with nostalgia and memories. The physical act of learning the craft of photography is a very intimate one, intertwined with memory, context, and content. Since my time at art school, digital photography has seen rapid transformation, and the technology has evolved to the point where today, quality is at a premium. Much like filmmakers who insist on shooting on 8 or 16mm, their time has come and passed. Digital technology has reached its tipping point, where cost and availability have made the old technologies obsolete.

We are now at the point where image making is so commonplace, it’s not a matter of who is doing it, it’s a matter of where to share your memories. We are so focused now on social media and living in a real-time network of status updates and images, that the craft of photography is now standing on its last legs. Technology has removed the barriers to those who did not learn the craft, making everyone a photographer, and memories everywhere. So with the old technologies now obsolete, photographers can now focus on what is most important, creating content, making images, and sharing their stories with the world.

Sure, you can still tell the difference between a photographer and a hobbyist or your average joe shooting on his/her smartphone. Photographers have a natural understanding of composition, light and framing, and are able to produce photographs that still amaze others. Photographers do not depend on Instagram filters, or HDR to make an image interesting (but heck, they are sure fun to play with). They still have the eye for photography that sets them apart in this image obsessed world. But we have changed as people. Immediacy is more important than time, and instant gratification is key. You want to snap a photo, apply a filter, upload it to Facebook as fast as your smartphone will let you. You want to share your photos, and can do so instantly and to anywhere in the world in a moment. You would rather pick up a chair from Ikea than have one hand-crafted.

With the passing of Kodak, a little piece of every photographer has died, but it’s more of the process of photography for photographers, that will be missed. Today’s kids probably won’t even know who Kodak were, and more importantly, they couldn’t care less. As a photographer, I certainly won’t miss the cost of buying film in bulk, or spending every cent on chemicals, paper, and equipment. I will however miss the process or shooting, processing, printing, and then sharing. So maybe the ‘Kodak moment’ hasn’t really died with the passing of Kodak… maybe it has just begun. With technology giving everyone the means to make photographs, we suddenly find ourselves on an even plane… and quality of content will become even more important.

I’m sure many will miss the excitement of running to the local photomat, picking up your prints, and the excitement of seeing what you captured appear before your eyes. Ask any photographer who has ever processed their own film, and they will all tell you that there is simply nothing quite as amazing as watching your film process, and seeing a chemical bath make your images come to life. But it’s now time for us traditionalists to accept technology, embrace it, and move forward telling the stories we have always told, just with a new and improved medium.

Now on to our next challenge, managing our digital lifestyle. We will cover this in future posts. Let us know what you think about where photography is headed, and what you will miss from the Kodak moments of the past.


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  1. Reblogged this on Agent Charlie.

  2. i understand the Kodak moment thing, but I must say, my best “Kodak moment’s” are sealed safely within my fondest memories.

  3. “Immediacy is more important than time, and instant gratification is key” that quote pretty much sums up what is happening with our culture and why things such as photography is changing. How this is sustainable commercially remains unseen as our waiting time is getting shorter and shorter…

  4. really loved your post…reblogged it on my site…i took a course in photography back in college and fell in luv with films and developing them. you are right…nothing beats the moment when the prints take on life in the chemical bath…your post really brought back all those memories. 🙂

  5. I really loved this post and I’ve reblogged it on my site. I am a huge of film myself so was quite stunned about the Kodak news…still remember the times my parents used to buy spare rolls for our vacations…your post really brought back all those memories… 🙂

  6. Reblogged this on reflectiveinsights.

  7. Neatly written, thought provoking post.
    However, I disagree with your assertion that film is dead. History shows us that technologies spawn offspring that eventually supersede their parents, but then, in time, come back. I give you Vinyl/CD/MP3 as an example and, in fact, sales of turntables are on the increase again.
    There are enough film users out there to prevent celluloid from becoming totally obsolete. And sad as it was to drive past the remnants of the Kodak factory in Harrow last week, the company will have to find ways to innovate as they have done so successfully in the past.

  8. I hope film never dies all the way. I’m finally learning it now at the local community college. And I love it. And I would live in the darkroom if I could. I LOVE IT. I love digital also. But there’s something about film. Even if the chemicals are toxic. Great post, thanks so much! And congrats on being daily pressed.

  9. Reblogged this on myreviews.

  10. I truly love this blog, not as a photographer, but as the nostalgic memory hoarder that I am.

  11. Great article. Unfortunately, Kodak was way too slow in adapting to the change in photography. Once Polaroid film cameras died, we knew Kodak would not be far behind.

    The good thing is, Kodak is not really going anywhere. They will still be around for years to come. Many a company and person has filed bankruptcy and survived.

  12. While it has been ages since I have had my own dark room, I will always remember the magic of watching my image appear as the paper sits in the developer, the excitement as I create something worthy of hanging on my wall, and the soft glow of the safe light.
    I love the ability of digital cameras – I can take hundreds of photos without changing film, or heavens – run out!!! It is also great that you can check the photo before putting the camera away…I have a number of once in a life time blurry shots either taken by me or by a stranger of me….but the anticipation of waiting for my prints at the shops is now gone!!! Great post. Thrilled to have found it!!!

  13. This is an excellent point of view. I remember as a young girl going to Costco with my mom to pick up the developed photos, and we were so excited to see how the pictures turned out. We would sit and analyze them in the car, laugh and recall memories together. She would always make albums after family vacations or significant moments.

    There is still the Kodak Theater in Hollywood. And if I do recall correctly, Disney and other theme parks posted signs indicating this spot is a “Kodak Moment”. Kodak has left its mark in society.

    Regardless of this transition, being able to appreciate film and all its benefits gives you an advantage over others. You have the power of educating others when you come across a situation when others are admiring digital photography. Having once been so laboriously dedicated to capturing and developing film is something to be proud of.

  14. Reblogged this on Nimmo's blog.

  15. As a life-long resident of Rochester, NY, I can tell you that your Kodak moments were the blood, sweat and tears of a 50,000+ local workforce thirty years ago. Now, local Kodak employees number less than 8,000. Film manufacturing died here long ago, and the real casket to weep over is that of Kodachrome. Kodak invented digital photography in the 1970s and hadn’t a clue as what to do with it. Actually, Eastman Kodak Company is *not* dead (yet). They filed Chapter 11 in hopes of becoming a leaner, healthier company. Picture-taking, though, is now much bigger than Kodak. That’s the real legacy. Nice post. Thank you.

  16. I use film regularly, as well as digital, and there are definitely distinguishable qualities in both. But I believe film will never truly die! It is beautiful to develop film and work in a dark-room like I have been doing for the last year. I love capturing true emotion in photographs (I am a WordPress photoblogger)

  17. I am happy to say that film is not dead. I run a business in portland Maine that specializes in traditonal black and white film processing and printing ( old school with trays and enlargers). There are a lot of great things about digital photography but there are still a lot of people that are passionate about film. Why not get the best of both technologies.

    • @holdencalgary says:

      Good point. Both technologies can co-exist. Next time I am in Maine, I will bring my 20 or so remaining rolls of black and white medium format film to have a processing day!

  18. Amazing!

  19. My first camera was the Kodak 110! So yes, miss that exciting moment in the photo-shops looking to prints and negatives (and asking the guy behind the machine to re-print with correction – for free). Thank you for the thoughts.

  20. very nice post.


  21. Excellent post! I have been a photographer and photo educator for 30 years and stopped shooting film about 8 years ago. At first I didn’t miss it, but now that my daughter is into photography and only shoots medium format film in Holga’s, Dianas and a Hasselblad she’s gotten me inspired to shoot some film again. I must say I’m enjoying it. I pulled out an old Mamiya medium format camera and have been shooting a few rolls of color through it. There is no doubt that shooting with film is a different kind of creative photographic experience and what I like about it most is you “take your time” when composing and exposing your shots. Film photography forces you to “slow down” the photographic process and that to me is a good thing. Thanks for a thoughtful post.

    • @holdencalgary says:

      Appreciate your comment. For me, shooting with my old Mamiya was a rush, especially knowing you had a limited number of shots, you had to be critical of every shot. Medium format to me was when I fell in love with photography. Looking down into the camera gave me a different perspective on what was in front of the lens.

  22. One side of me feels nostalgia for film – I still have my first camera a Kodak 44A from 1959….. BUT let’s not forget that Eastman wanted to bring the ability to record their lives to everybody . . . . and that’s what the digital era has given us. However this has brought us a problem in the blurring of lines between a ‘snapper’ and a photographer. Similarly I am photographer – I have Masters degree in photography and taught at university level – I have studied the ‘greats’ and tried to understand their work and learn from them. Yet I know many people who call themselves photographers- and yet couldn’t actually name a photographer – the sort of person who thinks that photography is defined by what model camera you own- they think that understanding how a camera functions makes you a photographer! No- it doesn’t – no more than having Word, being able to use a spellchecker, and set up a blog makes you a writer! The difficulty is that the technology makes the process so easy and consequently ‘anyone/everyone can do it’ !!! The fault does not lie with the technology – it lies with the inability to be discerning in what we see and read. the ability to recognise and appreciate skill and talent.

    PS Yes I use a digital camera but I still remember the pleasure of getting a roll of Kodachrome 25 back from the labs…… Mmmmmm

    • @holdencalgary says:

      Thanks Rowland. Completely agree. And for the record, I wanted to be Garry Winogrand or Diane Arbus when I grew up. Didn’t happen, but seeing their work on display were some of the greatest moments of my life.

  23. Great article. It’s a shame Kodak’s “dead”.
    I used to take pictures with film, too. I have to admit, not anymore. I only have an old camera with film, but it doesn’t work anymore. So I take digital pictures. Anyway, I think film is not dead yet. There are still companies who produce films. Just not Kodak. 🙂

  24. I really like this post. Those of you who want a daily dose of literature and everything in between, come check out my blog @

  25. My dad was a manager for many years in Kodak. From the days when colour had to be done only in melbourne to the days with the local labs I have fond memories all. I for one am very glad Kodak was around as long as it was and very sad they didn’t keep up with the tech. It was to their detriment that they said NO to digital. RIP Kodak, you’ll be sorely missed. I miss the smell of developer!

  26. I already miss it. I loved going and getting my pictures.

    I missed going “DAMNIT why is THAT one blurry”

    I miss that.

    I kinda loathe being able to take 1500 shots at any one point in time. sometime making those 36 count was fantastic

    • I really like this post. Kodak cameras remind me of my childhood. Come checkout my blog @

    • Film is not dead. If you miss it: then go buy a roll of film, shoot it and get it developed. You can still get 35mm at any target or walgreens. You can still get them developed there too. If you want to get better quality film, different film formats, and developing—find a local photo store (not one in the mall). I shoot film daily, digital just doesn’t cut it. Join the legion of people who STILL shoot film and have no plans on stopping. It’s so much more exciting than digital.

  27. It’s a bit bittersweet when you consider the phrase “Kodak moment” is so much bigger than the company. A hundred years from now, people may still be saying it, keeping the essence of the phrase, but losing the etymology of the name Kodak. Will Google go the same way? My brother and grandfather, both photographers, are lamenting Kodak. My brother loves to use film with his old, classic cameras. If there is still a niche market for vinyl with music lovers, film will survive through photography enthusiasts.

  28. Spangled Sensation says:

    Terrific article. We are image obsessed, aren’t we? I drive by the empty/decaying Goody’s Kodak facility in Atlanta often. It’s roof-top signage is a local landmark!

    • There’s a building on Ponce near Monroe intersection with “Kodak” on the side. When I was researching NFL Films a few years back, I’d read that they were Kodak’s biggest customer.

  29. Miriam Joy says:

    Great post! I love taking photos, but I have no photographic training and I use an ordinary compact digital camera. I’ve worked out how to play with the focus and I especially like taking photos of sunrises and sunsets, because the colours are always so beautiful. There are so many people who could take those photos better than me, but where are they at eight o’clock in the morning? Not on my frost covered school field with the bright orange and yellow light shining down on the lake in the park opposite, that’s for sure! When there is no one else to take photos, you have to take your own…

  30. I do not believe film is yet dead. I don’t think it will be for quite some time. I shoot film and develop my own prints on a regular basis. I shoot much more film than digital. Look at my blog for a lot of examples of what I am doing with film.

  31. i love this company….:)))))))
    but had to sell out its camera which i had…..:)))))

  32. jumpingpolarbear says:

    Miss that logo. Brings back the childhood memories

  33. buniheart says:

    Please check out my bloggy

  34. Reblogged this on self-indulgent speech bubbles and commented:
    This is an excellent read for those who grew up with film. Is the ‘Kodak Moment’ dead?

  35. I want to learn the art of photography the old fashioned way using film and the old techniques. Although I use it and have adapted, I don’t like the way technology has taken over man old traditions and ways of doing things. I prefer to physically send people letters rather than converse my email, to call rather than facebook or to simply go to someone’s house rather than video call. Our lives are all being made easier, but the values we once held onto are disappearing.

    • It’s not too late to learn how to shoot with and develop film. Every week I have people contact me about my three part online tutorial to developing film. It’s so easy and satisfying to pull those wet negatives out of the developing tank.

      Old cameras are much cheaper than newer digitals and film is plentiful. If you can’t find film locally, there are tons of places to buy it online.

      Don’t let this article and many others like it convice you that it’s too late! 🙂

  36. this post reminded me of my grandpa who happened to be a photographer.. we had this dark room in the basement but unfortunately i never had the chance to learn the art because he already passed away… :’c

  37. That was a very penetrating theory that photographers will have to focus that much more on content. I’m not sure about conceiving digital technology as a higher quality medium though. It is a common conception for sure and one applied to many fields of technological change but strikes me as too simple. Digital is more of a change of medium than an improvement, and of course your article mentions this in a slanted way when you mention all of the things lost when changing to digitial. How can you have an improvement and at the same time a loss of so many valuable processes?

    The other is that the texture – for lack of a better word – is not the same in digital prints as in film prints. And this quality vs. medium change narrative can be brought back even further in time: even older era metal prints actually have some of the highest quality images I have seen. The sharpness of the photo and the shading between whites and blacks is striking which leads me to find that for some aspects quality actually decreases as technology increases. I suspect the ‘quality improvement’ narrative is a carry over of marketing and not something actual photographers should be absorbing as truth.

  38. I learned to develop my own film a million years ago in the newspaper business. We had our own dark room and if a photographer wasn’t around us reporters learned to do it ourselves. Black and white is still my favorite and I have photos I’ve taken of Hillary and Bill Clinton (before he was president) and many politicians and stars that came to Chicago. Film won’t be dead for me until I am.

  39. I always wanted to learn the process of film and development in dark rooms. We never had the money when I was a kid, and now that I am an adult, there is no longer the opportunity. It is an art I never knew, but one I will always miss.

    • i feel the same way 😦 it’s a sad loss, really.

    • It’s still out there if you want to explore it. Don’t take this blog for the truth. Go to your local community college and take a darkroom class. I live in Portland, Oregon and there are many places to buy, develop or learn to develop your own film here. Look into it. Don’t more a loss that hasn’t happened yet.

  40. I absolutely agree. I do admit that I miss the prints that were developed to put in albums for people to look through when they come over. Now to show people recent pictures, you have to log into your facebook. No one’s really interested in leafing through albums anymore, which sucks, but it’s life.

  41. The smell of a developing room is awful, but film development is pretty fascinating.

  42. Mark Mizen says:

    I do not equate the Kodak Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing with the end of the Kodak moment. The bankruptcy filing is purely a financial maneuver designed to provide a better footing for the future, eliminating past obligations that are weighing the company down. I expect many Kodak products to continue and the Kodak moment to exist far into the future, although that moment may be a photo book or home inkjet print, instead of a piece of light-sensitive, chemically processed paper.

  43. It is sad but Eastman Kodak Co, the photography icon that invented the hand-held camera, has filed for bankruptcy protection and plans to shrink significantly…
    By the way KODAK made first digital camera too!
    But you can not blame competitors for management
    When I was kid Jeep was associated with any kind of SUV and KODAK was everything about photography.

  44. Thanks for the article! As for professional photographers, remember, there are always people (like me!) who will appreciate your art whatever the format. We can still distinguish a good photo versus a bad one, be uplifted by a subject captured just the right way, and although we may not understand the process to get there, we can be intrigued by the finished product just the same.

  45. millodello says:

    Reproduction of an image whether done digitally or with film can still be done well or poorly depending on the skill of the image taker and reproducer. Kodak did well enabling a phographer working with film and failed to compete in the digital format. They excelled and then failed at reproduction. The :”Kodak Moment” on the other hand will not die with the passing of the film industry. That moment will always belong to the photographer. Each image is a passing moment. Frame it or lose it. How you frame it is only an option. How well you frame it and capture it is not. Let’s keep this point strictly in HD.

  46. such a shame to see true quality being thrown away in favor of ease of use

  47. Film may be “dead” for consumers, but I, like a many–many–photographers scan negatives for digital editing and inkjet printing. There is still a place for film while all but small-format (35 mm-ish) digital SLRs cost as much or more than a new car.
    Also, film’s rendition of skin looks a lot less pink and ground beefy than digital cameras’.

  48. It’s so true. I n so many art forms technology has taken over and really made it simple to just point and click and not really worry about the rest
    Great post

  49. Awesome post! Brings me right back to my childhood and my Dad’s massive, super heavy camera. Thank you for sharing!

    …following your blog…

  50. While i prefer toknow what my pictures look like as soon as i take them, I must admit there was always a great excitement for my family when we had our photos developed from our family trips, as we would anxiously gather around to see what the photographs looked like. It’s sad that Kodak is bankrupt, but that doesn’t mean they have to go away!

  51. I look forward to the challenges that capturing the moment in the digital age throws our ways; art is firmly rooted in the moment it arrived in, and so it must evolve with the times

  52. thomasmhouston says:

    I’m thinking of putting “Dektol” in my tag cloud….
    Doesn’t Everybody Know This Old Lab(hmmm…sounds like a pet reference)
    ” ” ” ” Love.

  53. You know, one of my childhood teachers has a brother who is a photographer. He was given one of the last rolls of kodachrome (sp?). I remember looking at the pictures he took with it and thinking that it seemed significant. Like the passing of an age. I used to shoot film but never once processed my own pictures– I always either had friends do it or I paid to have someone else do it. Now I feel a bit sad that I didn’t try it even once. It’s like I missed out on a connection to the past.

  54. Film will always be around. It has not been a commercially viable option for at least ten years now, but it will still be reserved as an artistic medium. Ilphord is still alive and kicking, and while their film is hard to find, I have the ability to process my film at home without a dark room thanks to light-proof developing bags and printers with the ability to scan negatives.

    As you said, ‘ask any photographer who has ever processed their own film, and they will all tell you that there is simply nothing quite as amazing as watching your film process, and seeing a chemical bath make your images come to life.’ I will always be loyal to black and white film. I wish I had the money to actually develop prints like I did in my photo class in college. I would spend hours upon hours developing my negatives and prints. It is the most relaxing thing in the world, and I get such a feeling of accomplishment when I ‘fix’ the contrast or exposure within the chemicals or the enlarger. It’s just so much more satisfying than working with Photoshop.

    There is an uprising of vintage film photography, everything from lomography to black and white, cameras dating back to the early 1900’s included. Like I said, it’s an artistic market, but film will never go away. There will always be a market for it because it is an art-form.

    Thank you for the wonderful read 🙂

    • I wanted to say that I agree with this thought wholeheartedly! Film versus photography has become art, and will be around as long as there are like-minded people such as yourself that are passionate about that art. I work in words as a writer, and have this same conversation concerning books versus e-readers. As a writer, I love that outlets like Kindle exist as it is a way for me to increase the exposure for my work. But as a traditionalist, I still print my work so there is a lasting memory. For me, the print is an art, a tangible asset to be cared for and coveted. Plus, I tell everyone that i can’t autograph a Kindle. Ha! And even though I don’t use film often, I still have an old 35 mm that I will hold on to and use as long as I can get film and get film processed. I like the feel of the paper…

  55. Your post got me thinking about the trends of moving from the physical to the digital, and from the expert to the masses. I linked back to you on my blog:

  56. Reblogged this on se7enthirty.

  57. I am upset when the well-known legend in photography was not on the street again. My father, who has retired nowadays, was a Kodak’s professional photographer in Surabaya, Indonesia. In my opinion, he got his best success when he was in Kodak. He knows all about photography because of Kodak. I learnt a lot about photography from him through “trials and errors” situation using Kodak film when I was in the elementary level at 5th grade.
    Kodak gives my family more than an experience about art. It gives us learning about how to respect our surrounding through picture we “catch”.
    Kodak should be brave to compete with the recent competitors. Show your expertise! I know Kodak can do it. Even though modern people love to use digital camera, Kodak can improve by inventing a device which is dealing with photography such as camera and its printer which can automatically set the sharpness, brightness and focus of a “shooting” target.
    Beside, Kodak can be the centre of information about photography, photo printing, and photograph course.
    Kodak, I believe, can do everything dealing with photography.
    You have carved the most remarkable history in photography. I am proud of you, Kodak. Thanks for everything you have given to my family 🙂

  58. Really informative blog, its a shame film is soon becoming a thing of the past, I have 3 Nikon F2’s and they are my favourite camera in the world, it will be really sad when I can’t get my film developed!

  59. Reblogged this on burninsnowman and commented:
    Film captures the spirit of a thing. Can it catch something of nothing. Babble . . .

  60. Reblogged this on Dileepthampi's Blog and commented:
    Very interesting information thank you.

  61. Reblogged this on shirleysiu and commented:
    Kodak doesn’t mean only a film. It means my childhood’s life.

  62. Kodak was a lovely company who missed the technology train. They did see it, and we saw digital cameras, wifi connected photo frames etc. But there was a lack of user friendliness over these products. I hope other companies of today will learn from this, and focus on giving the best possible user experience with technology products.

  63. Reblogged this on Justin Knight and commented:
    Here’s a great article talking about Kodak… Sad to see it go.

  64. Reblogged this on Justin Knight and commented:
    Here’s a great article talking about Kodak… Sad to see it go.

  65. This is sad news. And I heard recently that even Spielberg has ‘gone digital’.

  66. one kodak moment that i remembered back in those days was the time that my roll of film got overexposed resulting to blank/black pictures.. sad day it was for me.. well, as days and years pass, technology would become more and more modern and its the way its going go.. but kodak memories from yesteryears will always be remembered and cherished…

  67. Film, or Analog Photography is very much alive and kickin’. Here are just a few links for information, forums and photos….

  68. I enjoy what we in life associate with great memories, the camera the music, the song. Radio is nearly obsolete due to mp3 players, and digital has replaced our film cameras.

  69. Reblogged this on Promise I Believe.

  70. Reblogged this on Stina Preece and commented:
    Really interesting article about Kodak and the death of film by

  71. Thanks for the post, very interesting

  72. Yesterday I went to the local music store I rarely visit because they do not sell my kind of music. However I was really amazed that their LP department was significantly larger than the Jazz department.
    Didn’t someone declare the LP dead a long time ago? And there it was … thriving in a mainstream music store.
    I think I read somewhere that most media do not get obsolete; they get complemented. Maybe we will see film around for longer than we think, and as I see junior photographers turning from digital to film, it might even re-emerge like the LP.

  73. Reblogged this on All I Need.

  74. Reblogged this on thefearofsuccess.

  75. I think this weekend I’ll bust out my old point and shoot film camera for one more round. Film cameras definitely have a special place in my heart, I stubbornly continued to use my film camera throughout my teens as my friends, parents and siblings moved to digital, it was only when it started to cost $15-$18 to process each roll of film that I finally caved.
    I wonder if Kodak’s role in the development of film cameras will become known as the ‘Kodak moment’ in history books?

    • I recently bought an inexpensive color film (C-41) developing kit and a small tank, etc. Now I can develop my own film and so far it is a great alternative to commercial developing. It is also very easy and fun to do. I just take the negatives and then scan them in to my computer!

  76. Reblogged this on puffylea.

  77. Great post! I’d dedicated a post to Kodak too when i found out the news… film photography is only but a memory for me now with the digital movement – all good things must come to an end… what is in now will become obsolete too… more kodak moments there 🙂

  78. Nice post.

    In Portugal when I was growing up older people, particularly from the countryside, used to call a camera a Kodak. My “Kodak moment” for understanding that the writing for analog was on the wall came in China, in 2006, down in Fujian province (opposite Taiwan).

    I was with a group on a belvedere taking digital photographs. Some of mine were of the landscape, but others of the wonderfully bizarre signs, including one which forbade littering, and was entitled “no tossing”. Next to us were two older men, with tripods and analog cameras, all relics of another era. The throngs of Chinese visitors buzzed past them clicking furiously, while the disconsolate pair, vainly hoping for a family sitting, looked on.

    Peter Wibaux

  79. Reblogged this on Princess OluwaKemi Akin-art.

  80. I prefer film because I love getting in the darkroom and making my own black and white prints, but I have also worked with digital. Since I don’t have the skill and know-how to process my own color negatives I think digital would probably be the way that I go in the future for color photographs, but I’ll stick with film for black and white. Love Kodak films and has been my primary film type for years, but it’s not very easy to get where I live. It’s an on-line order thing for me now.

  81. Reblogged this on Craziness Is Necessary.

  82. You are saying that quality of content will become even more important now that we have the technology allowing anyone to snap a photo wherever they are. But quality of content is exactly the problem when millions of photos are being taken (and published online!) every minute. Like you hinted at, photography is a skill that takes a lot of time and effort to learn. While digital photography can be serious alternative for photographers who are still using film (why not use both, depending on the situation?), the fact that we are now all running around with some type of “camera” in our pockets doesn’t automatically make us decent photographers. As with many technological advancements, mass consumers unfortunately tend to focus on quantity, accessibility and convenience over quality (see mp3 over CD players).

  83. Great Blog. As a keen photographer with a love for developing my own films, I hope that film is not dead and those special darkroom moments will still continue. The chemical smell is one I still remember fondly for some odd reason.

    But as you pointed out, it is hard to see past the influence of the digital age on the next crop of amateur and professional photographers.

  84. Great thoughts, I also miss Polaroids fast photos. Yes, photography has evolved. Thanks for this insight, into the past. May God bless you.

  85. Thank you for the like and for reading my post. More importantly, I really enjoyed your writing and passed it along on project1979’s Facebook page as it pertains somewhat to the content of our show: thirty somethings in the shift of change. I wrote about changes in photography in a post awhile back:
    Would appreciate feedback.
    Hope you are well!

  86. Excellent conversation!
    I personally feel that film is not dead. I grew up learning how to develop and print our own pictures…my brother and I converted one of our bedrooms to a darkroom…there’s nothing like that kind of magic of creation.
    Sure digital media is all pervasive but plenty of photographers and filmmakers are still shooting film. I still have my Pentax Spotmatic that I got when I was a teenager. It’s a really good camera! I think it would be awesome to put together a darkroom again….I have a feeling it’s like riding a bike…once you get back in the darkroom…well, there’s nothing like it. It’d be interesting to see what my 10 year old daughter would think about it, too. Her world is totally digital of course even though we have a few hundred vinyl albums…she does know what records and tapes are.

    I feel that in terms of a visual experience, no matter how good digital imaging gets it will always(maybe always is to strong a word) be fundamentally different….a printed or electronically generated image is very different than the reflected light coming off of silver molecules…or light passing through film and being reflected back off of a screen. They both have very different effect on our senses.
    I love being old enough to make these observations and have the appreciation of both.
    Analog versus digital….the same conversations go on with music. (I’m a visual artist and musician) It’s a similar thing. Working with tape or with film.

    My family had a very successful business manufacturing motion picture processing machines…they had accounts all over the world and many of those machines are still in use. They had some definite short sightedness in choosing not to embrace the digital age but that’s water under the rinse tank now.
    Whatever medium you use love it and make the best art that you can.
    Stay inspired so that you may inspire others.
    Happy image making to all!

    • @holdencalgary says:

      “but that’s water under the rinse tank now”… that just brought me back to watching my timer while shaking my cannisters. Thanks for the comments.

  87. When I was a student, someone gave me an 8×10 Agfa-Ansco view camera, that had to be pre-WWI, because the companies split up when hostilities started. I stuck a flashlight inside the bellows at night, and applied electrical tape until they were again lightproof. I found a cabinet maker who fashioned a new lens board for a modern lens, I probably made the best photographs of my life with that camera. Change cannot erase some of the memories, like a workshop I got to take with Ansel Adams in Yosemite.

    My wife grew up in Rochester, and took me to the Eastman house on our first trip back. Back then the factories were humming. On our last trip back a few years ago, the smokestacks were cold.

    Great post, evoking some memories of really cherishing the craft of photography.

  88. The Gentleman's Red Wax Ninja says:

    I’m looking at a Rollei 35 S and an Olympus OM2 on my shelf–they are definitely more curiosities than anything at this point. But I still have the chemicals, and I still set up a darkroom in my bathroom now and again to play with pinhole photography. My brother made me a sweet pinhole camera out of an old developing tank (“The Bro”), and I love mucking around with it. All in the name of fun and wasted afternoons in the dark. And art?

  89. I miss the smell. It was very distinctive. Fresh film from the container, or the back of the camera. I used to manage one hour photo labs and it got so that I could walk into any building and instantly know if there was a photo lab inside. And it’s not just Kodak i miss. I miss Polaroid too! I miss cleaning the goop from the rollers. If you’re a Polaroid shooter, you know what I mean. Digital will never have these connotative memories for me. Long live film!

    • @holdencalgary says:

      The fumes and 8-10 cups of coffee used to get me through my days in art school spent in the darkroom. This was also when I used to sacrifice buying food so i could afford film, paper and chemicals. It would be great if someone made an air freshener for your house that had that smell.

  90. When I was young, my dad worked in photofinishing. Consequently, I was indoctrinated into Kodak as a child. I played with toy Kodak racecars and had three of the Kodak critters: Zoom, Click, and Rewind. I took a couple B&W photography courses in college, but since my sophomore year, I’ve worked mainly in digital.

  91. I never had the pleasure of hanging out in a darkroom, as I’ve just recently gotten into photography. I did have a Minolta drop-and-load camera, but I got that one’s film developed at Walmart. I guess I could wax nostalgic about how you can’t drop off film anymore . . . I do think I’m missing something by not converting one of my house’s closets into a darkroom and processing my own film. Running it off a printer that I’ve hooked up to my laptop isn’t the same thing.

  92. First, I have to admit I’ve always shot on Ilford & used their paper & chemicals…so I feel a bit like I’ve helped kill Kodak, and that their isn’t going to take away my film or paper or kill my time in the darkroom. I know it’s the digital age, but there’s just something amazing about holding that film in your hands and manipulating each print to the exact contrast and framing that you want. I’ve never experienced joy in making a print using photoshop and printer.

    Even being an Ilford girl, Kodak’s passing makes me sad. I know that with Kodak gone and film archiving becoming more popular, film is really dead.

  93. Rhiannnonn says:

    Oh, how bittersweet, the memories that this brings to mind! I remember my Grandfather’s darkroom in his machine shop when I was a small child. He showed me how to print black and white photos before I was ten. After he moved his business to Florida, he built me a darkroom when I took photography in high school. Granted, it wasn’t big enough to do color work, but there was so much that could be done with black and white!!

    I never really got to use an SLR. The school had only so many, and not really enough to go around for a whole class. The camera that I used was my Grandfather’s. It was the prototype of a 35mm camera that he designed when he worked for the Candid Camera (no joke, it was the company’s real name, and he also designed an 8mm movie camera for them) Company in Chicago around the Depression era. It was called a Perfex. It did everything that SLRs did (in the ’70s), but it had the sliding screen type shutter and I can’t for the life of me remember what that kind of shutter is called. I do remember that the teacher was impressed with the camera. He showed me a picture of the production model of the camera in an encyclopedia of photography. That camera was at least 40 years old when I started using it, and I used it for a good 20 years…

    Grandfather never used anything but Kodak film, papers, and chemicals, so I never tried any other brand.

    This also meant that there were prints and negatives by the boxfull all over the place. I remember some of the most incredible pictures that no longer exist. Pictures of relatives whose names I never did learn all of… Pictures of Yosemite, the Grand Canyon, the Wisconsin Dells, and Mt. Rushmore. Pictures of Christmas, Easters, Thanksgivings and birthdays. Pictures of Grandfather’s Indy car and his stock car (in addition to his scrapbook).

    I also remember the demise of most of the pictures and negatives: Florida humidity. Boxes of pictures and negatives stuck together beyond saving. Maybe a handful of survivors. The scrapbook and cameras lasted the longest. I only lost those because they were in stuff I had in my ex-son-in-law’s storage when my daughter’s marriage failed. I just hope he has the spine to save them for my grandchildren.

    The photos I still have are the ones of my grandchildren (several hundred at least). And I only have them because my “photo albums” are digital pictures on disk. The only racetrack pictures I have are the ones that I happened to find on the Indianapolis Speedway website.

    That is the advantage to digital photography, collections are much more portable. And if you take the time to learn your camera, you can still get amazing pictures. I treasure the pictures of my grandchildren, and I am rather proud of some close ups I’ve taken early morning dew on hosta plant flowers. I never had the money to spend on film to learn how to do that.

    35mm, Brownies, Instamatics, Instant (Kodak’s answer to Polaroid) cameras… I will always think of pictures that used to be when ever I hear Cindy Lauper’s “True Colors.” In fact, before they used that song in a series of commercials, I thought that it would be perfect for Kodak film.

  94. You really captured so much in this post. I grew up in Rochester, NY…my whole family was a Kodak family…everyone worked there. My great great great grand father worked with George Eastman. When I talk to people back home about Kodak the most common thread of the conversation is focused on how process of photography has fundamentally changed. My uncle retired and wrote a book on the process of photography because he fears that people will forget what really photographs are.

    For the past few years as Kodak has been demolishing their old buildings, and he has been visiting the buildings one more time before they are gone forever. Those buildings contain memories for my whole family and for them Kodak was really something special. It is ironic that George Eastman is quoted as once saying, “We (Kodak) were starting out to make photography an everyday affair, to make the camera as convenient as the pencil”. His quote is reality and the camera has been turned into something so extremely convenient that his company where it all began is now in limbo.

  95. Wow. 120+ years of history gone bye-bye. In my family we’ve owned everything under the sun with the Kodak name on it. Of all the KM’s we’ve had, this coup de gras is definitely a Kodak moment!

  96. I sure do like my digital camera, I hardly use my 35mm any more it just sits on the shelf most of the time, but I will miss film. Sad to see Kodak fading away, Kodak meant so much to so many people through the decades, capturing family fun times, big events in history, wars and so on.

  97. Thank you for a wonderful story and trip down memory lane. I remember meeting a woman who lived in Rochester, NY and told of the “Kodak Days” when the big bonus checks of the King of Film where handed out. That was also the time when all the department store sales of appliances, furniture, ect would be high for a few days. I too remember starting out with my 1st camera and running to the photo shop to pick up my prints. The manager would exam and instruct me on the best angles, lighting and whatever would help on my next photo shoot. Those were the days!

  98. I remember hearing my folks, “smile…it’s a Kodak moment!” It feels good remembering the beautiful , fun past. Felt like a kid all over again.

  99. Wonderful, well-written article. I too grew up back in the film days. My 1st “real” camera was (& still is) a Pentax ME-Super. I remember picking up prints from Fox Photo & still get processing now in a/b an hr at Wallgreens, but I too have embraced the digital age (getting my film prints just on a CD, to join all my other pics on my computer). I must say though that since my eyes aren’t particularly good with those tiny screens, when I first pull up digital photos on my nice big 26″ monitor, the moment is a lot like when I open up my prints for the first time!

  100. In terms of calling film obsolete, I would agree in the sense that it is being produced less and less. However I would definitely stop when comparing film to digital. Kodak may be dead to you, but film is definitely not dead. I’m quite confident when I say there are more working artists and photographers shooting on film than on digital.

  101. Reblogged this on Data Driven Websites.

  102. Unfortunate, to be sure. If only their leadership group were a little more adaptive and innovative…

  103. got goose bumps reading this, its so true, amazingly well written

  104. I studied photograph in the 1980s and spent time in the dark room. I remember too the days of picking my processed photos up, as you say, the photo mat. I was pulled kicking and screaming, practically, into the digital photo age, but now I’m having fun with it, even if I look like someone who is just snapping as a hobby.

    You’re right the Kodak moment is important to our culture. Just think of all the songs written about Kodak, such as Paul Simon’s “Kodachrome” which I heard when I was on hold the other day. Or that song about photography that Ringo Starr once sang. Now we’re waxing nostalgia.

  105. I, for one, will really miss Kodak!!! I use a digital SLR camera, but whenever I want prints, I go to Kodak Gallery and have them printed at my local pharmacy within one hour. I have all my photos saved on their website and buy photobooks and gifts from them all the time. Losing Kodak is a devestating blow!

  106. being 18, i guess i may just fall into your category of kids that don’t know of Kodak, but i can say its not all of us 🙂 I remember the first time using a film SLR and just the satisfaction of when the film had been processed, and its a shame that with the rise of digital, a photographer no longer gets that wonderful feeling. That said, i do believe that some of the pros still aren’t moving onto digital straight away;Joe cornish still uses a field camera for example, and because of it ends up with some simply incredible landscape shots. thanks for the good read 🙂

  107. Yes I will miss the film based photography, but I like the convenience of checking my image result instantaneously, especially when filming once in a lifetime events.

  108. mariaiglesias94 says:

    Reblogged this on mmiglesias.

  109. Awww wow you brought back memories for me. I remember when digital cameras weren’t in use and we had to get our photos processed. There is something really beautiful about looking through real photos in an album. I mean, people can still develop them nowadays if they want to, but how often do they? *tear*

  110. I have quite a few old Kodaks and will never part with them because they are a beautiful part of history! I can’t afford to process my film myself or even have a very expensive camera but I live and breath taking pictures. Many people just look at me strangely when I walk around snapping photos on the side of the road or just point my camera up in the sky and start clicking but I enjoy how free I feel and getting to look at all the little details later.
    I’m not an editing fan (when it comes to photos at least) but it can be very fun… I just hate when filters and apps are used to make crappy photos acceptable. Camera phone people bug me because they focus more on the share than on actually getting anything meaningful out of the experience.
    I have loved and lost many great photos but the best ones were those first ones I shot for photography class in high school. One of my cat is still hanging on my wall even though the cat is gone… I will never forget trying to get the canister to work properly in the dark or dipping my carefully enlarged and exposed shots into chemical baths in the eerie red glow.
    I’m certainly an amateur by most standards but I believe if you have passion and patience you will eventually get the shot and I have gotten many unbelievable ones and continue to get better by sharing my work and seeing what others come up with!
    GREAT blog post… it really got me thinking and wanting to dust off the pre-digital cameras sitting on my shelves!

  111. My great-aunt was a photographer. She decided after she retired at age 63 that she wanted to “take pictures professionally” and went on to win all sorts of awards and things. I can clearly remember being in middle school (YEARS ago) and being “forced” to spend my evenings watching her slides scroll through the slide projector on the wall. She traveled all over the world and lived an entire life in retirement.

    Her mind left her before digital cameras caught on for the common man, but I’ll never forget sorting through her boxes after she moved into the nursing home. She had very few personal items; her bible, a few clothes, her suitcase. Most were filled with image after image that she had processed in her own kitchen (in a tiny little one bedroom apartment in Jackson, Mississippi).

    I wish I could use film, I’ve a rather nice digital camera, but I know I’ll never take the kind of pictures she took. (Partly because I’m not a photographer, I’m just a mum.) Thanks for this post, it brought back wonderful memories, that 30 years later make me proud to have known my Aunt.

  112. Just last night I found some old childhood photos and was excited to see them in my hand, that’s something I’ll miss. Even though we are still able to print photos, I think, very few us still do. With film cameras we didn’t have an option, we needed to print all pictures, good and bad, and wait a certain time before we could see them. The upside of digital cameras is that we can see right away which pictures are bad and retake them, or just take a lot of pictures in the first place. With film, we needed to be more aware of the number of pictures we could take, carry extra film, and worry about having to pay to print bad pictures.

  113. New Media are fun. But, my god, this really hurts! Kodak RIP – I will never forget you you accompanied my whole childhood. One needs not be a Pro to mourn the end of Kodak.

  114. My dad attended a conference back in the 1980s that predicted film would be totally obsolete by the year 2012 – no joke! I’ve moved into the digital age to save money, but I still prefer the color quality of film. The trouble is finding a good place to develop film, and thankfully we have one in town.

  115. I am not a photographer. I am not even a hobbyist, But back in the day, I envied people who have a camera. I envied my classmates who have one so they can take pictures with their friends at school. Yes, my family own a camera (2 or 3 at one point though i can’t remember now), but buying film is something that could never be done on a weekly basis since there were other pressing matters that needed attention more than shooting on film. Nevertheless it was always a joy to look at printed pictures, to look at photo albums, to look at old memories which can only be captured by a camera. And back in those days, it was almost always a Kodak camera.

    Now, it’s like every one can afford to buy one. Heck, they don’t even need one because their phones already have it. There’s no need to buy a film. Photo albums may become obsolete also. The fact is that the craft that only few could enjoy before can be enjoyed by every one now. With the mass market appeal of digital cameras and phones with cameras, we realized every one wants to take pictures. Or perhaps they are also one of those people who cannot enjoy taking pictures because of the high price of making it a hobby or an art.

    Does Kodak filing for bankruptcy a sad event? Yes. Because it has become a part of our lives. With them possibly opting out of photography, it’s like Coca Cola shifting to another industry, or Nintendo no longer making consoles. But I think most of the older companies (even those that are even 300 + years old) these days have either shift industries time and time again to focus on what can keep them survive for a particular era. Maybe Kodak’s refusal to prioritize the technology that they invented is one thing. Maybe not.

    Still nostalgia will hit. I just hope people who have atleast had a “Kodak moment” will not forget those times. It’s depressing, yes. But it’s the truth.

    This is a wonderful article.

  116. Kodak is pretty much on the verge of bankruptcy… I think this article aptly sums up the sorry state of affairs.

  117. I recently stocked up on film and planning to buy more. I just bought a Medium Format film camera and have gotten my 35mm cameras out of the closet. Just learned how to develop my own Color C-41 films and am scanning in negatives.. It is really nice to get back to film once more. Long live Film!

  118. I think the person who wrote this is the kind of person that is trying to put the final nails in the coffin of Kodak. Why write such a negative article. I love Kodak and hope it stays for another 200 years. If Kodak fails we just feed Ilford and Fuji. Film is not going away. Still too much Large format and panoramic images being made with film that could never be achieved with digital. I hope you just close this blog, and go make pictures with your lame digital snapper and leave the real work to the pros. The film shooters that make the bug print art.

  119. This is the most depressing “kodak moment” ever 😦

  120. My IT class discussed the decline of Kodak this week due to their inability to make “alliances” with companies making strides in digital media. I’m sure that the creative minds could have formed some type of partnership that combined film and digital media to satisfy the purist and the modern photographer. Not to show my age, but I grew up with those “Kodak moment” commercials and hate to see another iconic part of my past “fade to black”.

  121. Film is not dead. There are enough people who still enjoy working in the dark and maintain darkrooms. Many high schools and colleges still have darkroom facilities and maintain them to continue teaching the art of film photography.
    They teach those skills along with the digital skills in computer labs next door to those running faucets and aromatic chemicals. It is possible to move forward into the digital age but remember & pass on to young adults the original skills that led to that “evolution”.

    The fact that you make that claim along with the “passing of Kodak” shows someone who is possibly poorly informed on the status of more than few things.

    • I agree with O.H. Bread, film is not dead!
      Kodak means not only 35mm or roll films but also super8 films which are still produced. I am using happily and I believe after financial restructuring these films will still be available so how come can you call them dead?

  122. I enjoyed your thoughtful article, Holden – even your bold “I can speak from my own experience and say that film is officially dead.” You’ll probably get a lot of heat from film users (it’s tough when your media of choice is declared dead almost daily!), but you are only speaking from your own experience. And I think yours mirrors the majority of photographers. Most of them have moved on to digital. I have a top of the line Nikon DSLR that I use recording things on the fly. For convenience and ease of sharing, it can’t be beat. However, anything that’s important to me is still shot on film. Everything I shoot for myself or for printing is shot on film.

    I get where you are coming from and how you arrive there from your limited recent experience with film, but thankfully, I and many others have a very different experience.

    Here in NYC among serious photographers, film is still very relevent. When I drop off or pick up my slide film, there are always others doing the same no matter which of the dozens of labs I choose. Kodak, which last I heard is still manufactuing and selling film, is only one of many options for film. You can also buy film from Fuji, Ilford, Adox, Foma, Efke, etc… There are still many websites and stores devoted to exclusively selling film and developing supplies. I also see a resurgence of film use among young people who grew up with digital. In increasingly large numbers, these new film users are snapping up used film cameras (they are getting much pricier on Ebay now), buying film, learning to develop, and sharing their experiences on Tumblr, Twitter, and Flickr. I’m sure you’ve also heard of Lomography and the Impossible Project.

    Right before seeing the link to your article, I had just finished loading two 4×5 film holders with Fuji Neopan Acros 100 film. Later I will drag my 4×5, two lenses, and heavy wooden tripod to the Brooklyn Bridge to take four shots. I might take my Hasselblad along to capture some square 6×6 shots. It would be SO much easier to toss my Nikon DSLR over my shoulder. Heck, with the high ISO capability I wouldn’t even need to take the tripod. But it sounds like you have enough experience to know that there is more magic, depth, and character in those four 4×5 negatives than a ScanDisk card full of 40 or even 400 digital files. 🙂

    Glad to see that so many other commenters remember film fondly. But film is not even close to being dead. Digital is king certainly as most of us prefer ease of use/sharing and “good enough” quality. For others “good enough” just doesn’t work quite yet. Once digital can match a B&W negative or I’m too old to carry the equipment, I might consider retiring my film cameras, but I would sure miss the process of film photography.


    • @holdencalgary says:

      4 x 5 was my absolute favorite… capturing notes, noting time of day, meter readings… love hearing about your experience… makes me want to quit my day job and go shoot!

  123. our comment is awaiting moderation.

    I think Kodak Film division is still profitable – and once the company has been divided up and the good bits sold off the rest gone forever. I think it will probably be ok. A small specialst company will emerge from the rubble and will continue to make chemicals and film for a while yet anyways.

  124. I think Kodak Film still makes money and once the company has been will probably be ok.

  125. “I can speak from my own experience and say that film is officially dead.” Like filmwins, I’d say that’s probably the sentence that irks me the most – your experience is in no way official.

    First off, Kodak has been continually shooting itself in the foot since it started its digital camera and inkjet printing businesses. Some would argue that this goes back to the days of the 35mm film SLRs (Pentax K1000, Canon AE-1, etc.) – there was never a Kodak SLR, so it was forever a “consumer” brand instead of a “pro” brand. But they’re the undisputed king of film. Giants, just like Fujifilm and Ilford.

    The British Journal of Photography has reported that Kodak’s film division remains profitable. So, Kodak film will likely survive the bankruptcy restructuring and thrive despite past bad management. More people shoot film than you might think. In this world of excessive, devalued, and ultimately disposable digital photographs, there’s a lot more reason to shoot something real.

    In your response to Cathy, you say, “I miss [the analogue process] already talking about it today.” There’s really nothing stopping you… Kodak film is still being produced sold, and bought, so go ahead and buy a roll. It’s not that expensive, either.

    • @holdencalgary says:

      Thanks Dan, appreciate your feedback. Like I said to filmwins, “I can speak from my own experience and say that film is officially dead.” I’m not saying it’s dead for you, or for the world in general… It is more of a lament to myself. I have never wanted to admit it to myself. I know it’s not ‘dead’… and never will be, but something is being lost these days that will be hard to retain in future generations. Btw… I used Ilford products for my real work.

    • Dan, you make excellent points however, if you are a professional Photographer film is dead to you. Clients, no matter who, want and expect you to shoot digitally. It costs far less. The results are immediate. I feel like I was one of the last photographers clinging for dear life to film but eventually I had to succumb. I will still occasionally shoot film but I no longer have a dark room and it’s just not as cost effective AND it’s simply not the same if you don’t print it yourself. The times they are a changin’.

  126. Thoroughly enjoyed this post. I will be returning for more, thanks!

  127. Cool concepts!

  128. This is fabulous, and expresses the move from film to digital so perfectly. Love it. Thanks!

  129. Lutgard Ondermaan says:

    ‘t is dat ik niet goed begrijp waarover dit gaat en ook of ik m’n naam hier moet zetten ‘k zoe beter in ‘t westvloams klapn ton verston ze mie noh min

  130. Yo. Check it. A 12 minute radio interview about why film isn’t dead and never will be.

  131. I bought a new car recently. I actually had a hard time finding the model I wanted with a manual transmission. A manual transmission is not as convenient as an automatic and I can’t point to significant performance or cost advantages, but in the end, I really enjoy driving my car and a manual transmission is an important tactile part of that driving experience. I won’t give it up as long as it is available.
    I’ve always suspected drivers of automatic transmission cars don’t really enjoy driving. I think they mostly just want to get where they’re going.

    driving=making images

  132. Who else got a twinge of nostalgia from that old slogan?

  133. well…heres my take on this! i dont think film is dead…far from it! i know for sure there are hard-nosed film fanatics out there (im one of ’em!) who would do nothing else rather than get involved with film…shooting or processing or both. with the passing of time, even if major firms like kodak do go down the pan, it will only serve to heighten interest in film…much like banning drugs causes an underground drug culture to expand….somewhat! ok, you would expect me to support film anyway, but i have been talking many, many digi-photographers, and would you know it, they all expressed in an interest in continuing to use film! so its not only me…..!

    • @holdencalgary says:

      I would love to continue using film… that’s where I got my start. You just have to wonder if a company like Kodak is going under… I agree though that the more people that go to digital, that will just drive up niche interest in analogue… There’s no surprise that even the digital age photography has become successful in making digital effects or filters that ‘fake’ film looks.

  134. Ah, yes digi has really changed things – and Kodak were pretty quickly off the mark with their did goods – it’s such a pity that they couldn’t keep going. (Like so many others of a certain age, we’ve still got a Brownie – must see if it will still work) 😉

  135. I miss the excitement of going to pick up photos, but for someone like me who takes 20 bad pics for every one thats OK, the new cameras/methods save me a ton of $ and I so hate to see companies like kodak paying the price ! Great blog!

  136. You did such a great job with this post I shared it on my page but gave you credit all over it (since I couldn’t find “reblog” button). If you don’t have the button because you despise reblogging, let me know and I’ll remove it.

  137. Kodak excelled in the area of “film”, the physical stuff that essentially created a solid great picture for years to come; but even they could not predict that the physical film itself would become obsolete. Sure, they have tried to stay up to date with some successes and many failures along the way but they have lost in the big ‘photo race’. It was sad to see at Disney World that Kodak pulled their sponsorship from Epcot (for obvious reasons). I do however wonder if our ancestors down the road will be looking through photo ‘files’ instead of physical albums to see the generations before, or if even looking at past ‘Kodak moments’ will be obsolete forever?

  138. The entire world of sharing has changed. At one point I made a 3 ft by 4 ft black and white print for my parents of all the kids. What a hit…..relatives would come over just to see the print. Today i am texting video to my niece. We were conditioned to see the final product (print) as the object of attention. The final print in the show, on the wall, on grandmoms wall or even in a book is what we made our mission. Now it is becoming a creative process that never finishes. Sure some people will capture breath taking images but for the rest of us its sharing, editing, posting and moving on. So much better than 200 shoeboxes of prints stored in the basement.
    Just had a hard drive failure and lost over 7,000 photos. Lots of HDR and heavy photoshopping. My reaction was nowhere as drastic as finding boxes of workprints have mold or that the negatives are stuck together. I was trained on view cameras and miss nothing of the old. Sure going into a dark room was a holy experience until the day came when heaven became hell. I like having coffee and sunshine while I edit.
    Yes its a sad day for Kodak. Its a sad day for all the people who relied on Kodak to do the right thing. Kodak had the market and the technology and still own lots of the initial digital photography patents. Kodak did little to foster digital consumer products. They did what the US car companies did in the 70 which opened the doors for Toyota and others. The US car companies could recover. Kodak bet and lost. They did not want to do anything that could corrupt the film culture. Sad but true. Kodak could not survive selling even the best digital cameras. The profit margin is to low. They needed film as all the other camera names you know and love make their profits in other places than cameras.

  139. When I was in high school and showing an interest in photography, my Dad, a hobbyist photog built a darkroom in our basement (long before digital – I’m old). I would spend hours down there processing my photos, trying to figure out all of high school social dilemmas, and just being. It was my first truly creative venture, I’ll never forget it. Thanks for sharing.

  140. Aww, thanks for bringing back my high school memories of developing film! It was an experience, not an upload!

  141. “…I can speak from my own experience and say that film is officially dead.” This couldn’t be more false. Enjoy your digital photography, I’ll enjoy making true and lasting art.

    • @holdencalgary says:

      Understand your opinion filmwins… like I said, “speak from my own experience”… not speaking for everyone, but thanks for commenting.

      • Actually no, that means that ‘from your experience’ in the world of photography, so you’re still saying it applies to that world, ie everyone. If your going to try and correct someone on their response, you should be using the right language to ‘mean what you say’. If you meant that film is dead to you specifically, and not other people, you could have phrased it as just that. Film is dead to you, that’s great, it’s dead to most consumers or is on it’s way there…..That in NO way means it’s dead in the world of photography. It’s actually far from it. If anything Kodak had reported that Film sales had come back up recently.

        Just because they as a company are declaring bankruptcy doesn’t mean it’s a referendum on film as a medium, it simply means that Kodak did not adapt to scale. They were operating as a massive company that made most of it’s money on film, it was clear a few years ago that market would shrink, so either Kodak finds a new revenue to make up for it, or they need to shrink, they unsuccessfully did that. Film still sells. So don’t espouse your ‘digital supremacy’ crap as if it’s accepted the world over. Digital is the medium of convenience not quality. Go see a film shot in IMAX(ie 65mm) and displayed in IMAX(ie 70mm) like MI:4 or when Dark Knight Rises is released….and I dare you to tell me there’s anything digital out there that looks better. I say that because that’s easier than finding a 20×24″ original Polaroid…again.

        If you want to speak your opinion, speak it, don’t speak it as common knowledge and not expect people to take offense if they disagree. -f

  142. nella32000 says:

    I love this blog.

  143. First of all, “We are now at the point where image making is so commonplace, it’s not a matter of who is doing it, it’s a matter of where to share your memories” is a fantastic line.

    Secondly, I am a photographer in no way, but I do miss going to the photomat to pick up prints, etc. I love the fact that you’ve reminded me of a small memory of doing something that I hadn’t thought of in years, and yet used to be a weekly occurrence.

    Brilliant post! You certainly deserve to be Freshly Pressed today! 🙂

  144. Carlie Chew says:

    I love your post! Like most photographers, I started out using film and now use digital. I have several film cameras and I collect cameras from the 50’s, 60’s etc. I love seeing what kind of images each camera produces. Even though the world has been taken over by digital, I still love to grab my film cameras out to have some fun. There is something exciting about not knowing what the shot looks like right away.

  145. Your writing really hit me where I live. Many years ago the New York camera shops were our Mecca, and the incidentals such as focusing screens, motor drives and the like were a never-ending reason to add to our camera capabilities. A collectibles cabinet presently holds the lensatic and mechanical treasure trove of my youth. I switched to digital long ago. Composition is the only value that made the transition, and composition no longer depends upon the eye behind the camera. The software had made composition a grab-bag exercise. I still have the Nikon camera, but they took my Kodachrome away. RIP Kodak.

  146. Earlier there used to be a few pics and we could enjoy watching it slowly.
    But now due to these digital cameras we have thousands of pics and nobody has the time and patience to enjoy each one of these …
    I remember the times when we used to complete the roll of 36 pics and then wait for the roll to get processed …
    Sometimes some of the pics amazed us
    U rightly said we all do miss the “Kodak moment” !

    • @holdencalgary says:

      For sure. I spent a lot of time with a Field Camera and I would spend a whole day to make one photograph… Watching that 4″ x 5″ neg come up though was surreal… Can’t imagine shooting one photo today.

  147. Very well stated. Having made the transition from film to digital, (I did both simultaneously for 9 years), I do miss the process: music in the darkroom, the probably toxic fumes from the chemicals, the happy adjustment to the safelight lit room, and discovery. Discovery did not only occur when taking the photographs, but again when they came up in the soup.

    But at the end of the day, it’s only another form of capture. The difference between the two (film vs. digital) are not unlike the difference between oil and acrylic painting: different but somehow the same. At some point, another technology will come along and replace digital. As long as we, as photographers, keep shooting, all will be well in our world.

  148. There used to be photographers and writers, now everyone is a photographer and writer. As we ease our way into the 21st century, the challenge is now to find the quality amid the quantity.

  149. i am not sure that the moment has passed. I am teaching students who love their ‘vintage’ cameras and yesterday I showed one of them how to dev a film the old fashioned way. I have been using my old 35mm Canon SLR and it has been a pleasure. The chemical and analogue nature of the process and the bother of taking it to the camera shop to have it developed or processing it myself means that there is that much more invested in the making of the image. It is more ‘meant’ somehow. And I have really enjoyed the packets of photos in the hand and stuck in a book again.

    I still use a digital camera as a recording device and that immediacy of being able to photo a student’s work and output it for a sketchbook immediately is still fantastic. But for making an art photo that means that bit more I’ll pick up my metal bodied, manual focus SLR and use that. I’m post digital, me.

  150. Interesting that so many have embraced this new medium. Of course maybe we have been forced to “embrace” it.

    What about e-readers? Are books the next to go? Self publishing is pretty easy and enticing. You are right. Value of content is sooo important. Great post.


  151. Last semester, I had photography classes and our professor required us to use film instead of digital. At first, we thought it was boring and hassle and lame but it was the total opposite. We really felt like photographers eager to see how our films turned out to be and basically I believe that we learned all about the essentials. That you’re not just supposed to click but instead think thoroughly before doing so. The analog world is amazing and I hope more people have realized that. Kodak will be missed.

    • @holdencalgary says:

      Cathy, so true. Learning the analogue process very important… and magical… I miss it already talking about it today.

  152. My kids just turned 20 and 22 and each took “old school” photography in high school. I wonder what they are teaching now? There was a tech school nearby where they both learned Photoshop and Dream Weaver..

    I recently found a roll of film and wondered where I would ever get it processed.

    Computers have taken over!
    Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

  153. I think I agree with a bit with the post above, and that this in many ways reminds me of Xerox, with the difference here being that Kodak intentionally held back on developing technology in order to maximize the sales of film. I’m really curious how all of their patent stuff turns out, and I think that the end of the Kodak moment might not have arrived just yet.

    I definitely agree with the part of the blog post where you discuss the joy of watching pictures develop. There is something about the immediacy of the digital age that just destroys certain aspects of life, no matter the convenience. I think of this in much the same way as I think of books – people used to wait in line for books, or anxiously await the library return of a book, and now it is a simple click. There is no more joy for those want to smell the pages and feel the weight of the book – now you merely touch the screen to turn the page.

    The thing I will miss most about Kodak and print development in general is watching the eagerness of family and friends as they gather around the envelope from the film development place – the anxiety and excitement around seeing pictures for the first time was priceless. Great blog post, and thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  154. The industry certainly is changing, which has implications for photographers and photophiles as well as common folk … like I am.

    I’m excited to no longer have crazy rolls of random undeveloped film lying around. Yet I’m sad that the majority of my pix live on my computer — and not in an envelope where my kids and I can peruse them in a tactile, visual way.

  155. oh, i do not miss the film processing time that it was with kodak. but i understand your point… off to check out your mummified in bacon post…

  156. To me this feels a lot like history repeating itself. It’s like Xerox developing the desktop computer with networking and a graphical interface only to think it was too expensive and not worth investing in further. The creators of the device went on to start their own companies and revolutionized how we do business. Maybe Kodak holds patents for digital imaging, but the company seems like it missed out on the opportunity to continue to own the imaging space.


  1. […] this post in wp homepage. It’s so sad that Kodak is fading away.. I don’t know so much about […]

  2. […] Or consider photography. We heard of the giant of the photo industry, Kodak, declaring bankruptcy. Funny thing is, Kodak was largely responsible for taking photography from the hands of “experts” and “professionals” and putting it in the hands of everybody. Where Kodak missed the boat was its reliance on the physical over the digital. Their business model assumed that a “picture” was something that you could hang on a wall or put in an album. Just as mp3s overwhelmed records and cds, jpegs (and such) overwhelmed film and prints. […]

  3. […] The blog is well written and certain worth the time to not only read but reflect over. That Kodak Moment Started in 1889, the Eastman Kodak Company has been part of all our lives. Much like today’s […]

  4. […] TweetWhy do people write about things they don’t know? Here a photographer says, in a blogpost lamenting Kodak’s demise (and more on that “demise” in a moment), that “film is definitely dead.” […]

  5. […] I was reading a post called “That Kodak Moment” from the blog and I really do agree that “film is officially […]

  6. […] THAT KODAK MOMENT…as blogged by […]

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