Death of Film

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by rick_drawbridge, Jun 19, 2014.

  1. Well, it's not really quite as bad as that. Here's an interesting little series of nostalgic photographs from Catherine Leutenegger:
    http://www.konbini.com/en/inspiration/death-film-kodak-city/
     
  2. In case this thread is deleted (again), it's probably better to use a less inflammatory and/or cliched title. Granted, Rick is merely quoting the linked article. But the linked article is deliberately misleading in the interest of generating web traffic through subtle trolling. Perhaps a better thread title would simply be "Kodak City book project".
     
  3. I didn't realize they stopped making all that 18MM film?
     
  4. Thanks, Lex, I never gave it a thought, but you're quite right!
     
  5. They didn't say whether or not the photos in the article were shot on film, with a CMC, or (gasp) digital.
     
  6. "They didn't say whether or not the photos in the article were shot on film, with a CMC, or (gasp) digital."
    EXIF data indicates some of the 2012 photos were taken with a Nikon D700 and 24-120 Nikkor. The main reason I noticed that was because of uncorrected pincushion distortion in a couple of photos, taken with the lens set to 90mm. And the fact that I noticed that flaw indicates there's something lacking in the project.
    Despite my fondness for elevating the snapshot, the banal and the mundane to a near-art form, I have no idea what I'm looking at or why in those photos.
    At first I thought the linked article simply missed the point of the project, or failed to zero in on the most representative images from the project.
    But after looking at the photographer's own website and selection of photos from the project from 2007 and 2012, I'm still not seeing a coherent theme or even a hint of a vague notion of a concept. The photos don't evoke a sense of a grander time, followed by a decline, or a sense of abandonment, or of a city persisting despite the loss of a traditional industry, or... anything. It seems like a bunch of random snapshots, and a few carefully composed photos, lacking any cohesive sensibility. And, again, I do understand and enjoy the snapshot aesthetic, the celebration of the ordinary daily life, the artistic depiction of the banal and mundane. I'm just not sensing any such artistic or documentary intent here.
    Perhaps my visual taste buds have been numbed by too many highly focused nostalgic projects, comparing before and after views from cities, carefully melded together; or by the currently trendy recreation of childhood family photographs. And perhaps I'm too accustomed to the ironic juxtaposition trope so common to "street" photography (David Foster Wallace warned us about irony).
    But it can't be a good thing when my first thought upon seeing some photos was "Wow, I didn't realize the 24-120 Nikkor on the Nikon D700 showed that much pincushion distortion at 90mm, and why didn't the photographer fix it in post?" I mean, I almost never fret over technical minutiae like that in most documentary photography. It just isn't important when the subject matter, composition, aesthetics or intangibles are strong.
    I would have thought Rochester might be slightly more interesting than Gertrude Stein's Oakland. But in this case, the first thing I noticed were the technical flaws because there wasn't much there there in Kodak City. Perhaps that was a factor in Kodak's decline - being located in an uninspiring city, while the rest of the thriving industries that depended on intellectual property as much as physical products had located in more appealing cities surrounded by a culture of intellectual development, competition, and all the tangible and intangible factors that make for a thriving city and community. Perhaps Kodak should have left Rochester long ago and made itself more attractive to younger, dynamic engineers, developers and marketing folks who might have motivated Kodak to adapt to new technology, succeed where its promises failed, while continuing to support legacy products.
    But the uninspiring photos in Kodak City do help reinforce the presence of strength of vision, craft and editing of photographers like Eggleston, Shore, and the Bechers. It's not as easy as it looks to celebrate the ordinary and dig beneath the surface.
     
  7. AJG

    AJG

    Lex--I agree with you that the pictures aren't that great, but Rochester is a much more interesting place than they would suggest. Also, from what I have seen as a full time photographer for the last 25 years, I think that the problems at Kodak had more to do with poor top management than with a lack of talented and dynamic people at lower levels of the company.
     
  8. The German monthly Magazine FOTOhits also has an article or likely this article. I need to read it before running on at the mouth but I think IMO too much emphasis is placed on Kodak to survive in changing market.. sure things could've been different but this Darwin and the rest is adapting to survive. Even thought I accept it onthese lines.. I want Verichrome Pan and Kodachrome even if the rest of world can live without it.
     
  9. Actually, when I see these I wonder if anyone has pictures of the plant actually working.
     
  10. The article perpetuates the myth that film is dead by stating, "The local factory is now closed as production of film slowed to a halt completely and Kodak went bankrupt."
    Kodak still produces film and at no time halted production.

    Frickin' so-called "journalists"!
     
  11. James G. Dainis

    James G. Dainis Moderator

    Never let the facts get in the way of a good story.
     

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