Kodachrome

by Samantha on January 25, 2012

The recent news that Kodak had filed for bankruptcy protection was sad to say the least.

The one-time leader in photography and all things picture-related is not even a sad shell of it’s former self. It is, for all intents and purposes – ceasing to exist.

Kodak – and its eponymous Kodachrome film – were part and parcel of many a childhood, a family event, a birthday party. A graduation, a wedding and other seminal parts of our lives were often so beautifully captured on what was once the standard method of conveying images.

Now, film is a word that is rarely used in relation to imagery. Kids these days don’t know what it means. They have no frame of reference (pun intended).

Image courtesy of www.photographyblog.com

That’s the standard response that I get from my eight-year-old daughter just after I’ve snapped away on my iPhone. The ease-of-use, convenience and “cool” factor of the ubiquitous Apple smartphone has, sadly contributed to the demise of the old-fashioned “film” of yesteryear. 

Not that it’s Apple’s fault, however. The writing has been on the wall for years. Digital cameras, to some degree, seem to also be on their way out as people ditch their camera’s to have an all-in-one device on which they can take pictures, shoot videos, surf, do email…oh…and make phone calls as well.

Stand-alone camera? I literally haven’t used one in years. And I know that I’m not alone.

Hardly any of my friends and family uses a camera anymore, digital or otherwise. They seem almost – sigh – obsolete.

The world has changed so rapidly and unfortunately Kodak wasn’t able to keep up. The irony that this company is the one that originally invented the digital camera is an even sadder footnote in it’s history. While the company may have been the creator of what is now a standard, they were not able to keep up with the other camera companies who saw the opportunity to expand and take advantage of what was then a new and promising technology.

In the past 10 years alone, the prevalence of what we would now call “old-fashioned” cameras – the ones that use film – have declined to the point where film itself is difficult to find in stores. It’s a dying breed.

From the perspective of a parent, it’s a sad day indeed.

Image courtesy of /www.adclassix.com
Kids these days have no clue about the process of developing pictures and the anticipation and sheer excitement that came with waiting for your pictures to be developed. Not knowing was part of the fun and then finally seeing the photos – a “big reveal” of sorts – was a thrill that cannot be replicated. Sure, it’s convenient, easy and a no-brainer to take a picture now and delete it immediately if it doesn’t meet our standards. It’s simple. The old-fashioned way was somewhat more trying, and as a result, it taught us to be patient, to wait and to be accepting of an image that wasn’t quite perfect. Okay, so maybe the photo in question was blurred, or too dark, or over-exposed. It may not have been the absolute best that it could have been but it captured the essence, spirit and feeling of the moment, and at the end of the day, wasn’t that what it was all about?

Now, with our fancy smartphones, many of us seem to feel that we’re professional photographers of sorts (myself included, I’m embarrassed to say). We try and try to get that perfect shot, taking picture after picture, deleting and deleting, and in the process, often losing the ambiance of the moment that we are so desperately trying to capture. Film made us perhaps a bit more accepting of our photographic flaws and in doing so, allowed us to enjoy those “Kodak Moments” just a bit more.

All things must come to an end, I’ve heard and things change, it’s a part of life. This one, however, is just plain sad.

So long, Kodak.

VIDEO: Kodachrome

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