That the phrase Kodak Moment has filtered into modern idiom is testament to the might of the once-giant imaging company. Founded by George Eastman in 1889, the empire built on Razor Blade Economics; inexpensive camera sales encouraged hefty margins on consumables; by 1976 Kodak enjoyed 85% and 90% respectively of camera and film sales in the US. Thus many read with sadness of the groups parlous position of late. Kodak, like Coke is a brand synonymous with the sort of sunny all-American consumerism we grew up with.
I produced a photography lecture for a number of years; 'All About Light'. I rattled on with passion about film versus digital, a stubborn proponent of the former. A classical musician chum once explained that you simply cannot replicate on CD the sound quality of vinyl played on high fidelity equipment. He employed all those wonderful words we photographers would use to talk about capturing light; depth, tone, warmth, resonance etc. I brandished this anecdote in defence of my beloved film. (Side: we had been using Fuji for some time by then.) There was certainly weight to my argument, however by 2007 sheer economics forced a switch. Professional digital capture was becoming more affordable and the quality of output improving exponentially.
With the demise of consumer film photography something indefinable has been lost to the ether. One hundred years of truly precious moments; anxiously waiting a week for that costly roll of 24 or 36 snaps to come back from the chemist; each frozen point in time scrutinised, pored over and pasted into albums, often cherished long after the colours faded. With the advent of digital and the dastardly camera phone our snapping has become gratuitous, caviler. Sadly, skills have been lost and the mystery of photography debunked and simultaneously devalued. In the professional world we have gained inordinate flexibility in our work flow of course however I do miss a time when I knew a shot was 'right' without recourse to the back of the camera for an instant preview and a delete button. MOH