Kodak filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Thursday 19th January 2012 – sparking worry that the once giant photography company is edging towards certain extinction. The 13 year old company has seen a steady shrink in its dominance in photography and its own size and wealth. The stricken company are now filing for bankruptcy to try to keep the cash flow flowing – aiming to come back bigger and stronger specialising in printers and printer ink.
Since 2004 Kodak had only achieved one year in profit, and after their share prices plummeted and key management figures resigned, the firm’s slow slide downwards got a whole lot steeper.
Here at Photography 101 our memories of Kodak include viewing my dad’s old slides taken on Kodacrome, average printers and my first film camera which was a Canon APS camera (using Kodak’s quirky APS film standard) which for some reason I would only ever take images in panoramic, thinking I was getting more film for my buck?!
I also own an old Box Brownie, which was the pioneering camera invented by Kodak which cost $1 when it came out, and used Kodak’s revolutionary flexible film – by which the company was known for. From that point Kodak was cemented into American life and then the rest of the world.
The famous red “K” and yellow background logo was an instant recognised brand for quality, design and performance – a cornerstone in professional photography. The recent demise of Kodacrome was evidence of this, after Kodak ceased production of the film stock people seemed to show an emotional bond to the product and company. This seems to be evident too this week as people appear shocked at the news that such an iconic brand can basically “shut up shop”.
Whatever field of excellence Kodak come back as market leaders in, their history, and the history of photography will always remain as impressive and vibrant as the film stock they produced!
Are we still allowed to use the phrase “That’s a Kodak momment” our will that be disolved with the company too?!
RIP Kodak – come back soon!