Skip to comments.KODAK IS DEAD
Posted on 10/03/2011 9:26:07 AM PDT by shortstop
My work is done.
Those words were some of the last penned by George Eastman. He included them in his suicide note.
They mark an ignoble end to a noble life, the leave taking of a truly great man.
The same words could now be said for the company he left behind.
My work is done.
For all intents and purposes, the Eastman Kodak Company is through. It has been mismanaged financially, technologically and competitively. For 20 years, its leaders have foolishly spent down the patrimony of a centurys prosperity. One of Americas bedrock brands is about to disappear, the Kodak moment has passed.
It is as wrong as suicide, and, like suicide, is the result of horrifically poor decisions, a fatal wound of self-infliction.
But George Eastman is not how he died, and the Eastman Kodak Company is not how it is being killed. Though the ends be needless and premature, they must not be allowed to overshadow the greatness that came before.
History testifies of the greatness of George Eastman.
It must also bear witness of the greatness of Kodak.
Few companies have done so much good for so many people, or defined and lifted so profoundly the spirit of a nation and perhaps the world. It is impossible to understand the 20th Century without recognizing the role of the Eastman Kodak Company.
Kodak served mankind through entertainment, science, national defense and the stockpiling of family memories.
Kodak took us to the top of Mount Suribachi and to the Sea of Tranquility. It introduced us to the merry old Land of Oz and to stars from Charlie Chaplin to John Wayne, and Elizabeth Taylor to Tom Hanks.
It showed us the shot that killed President Kennedy, and his brother bleeding out on a kitchen floor, and a fallen Martin Luther King Jr. on the hard balcony of a Memphis motel.
When that sailor kissed the nurse, and when the spy planes saw missiles in Cuba, Kodak was the eyes of a nation. From the deck of the Missouri to the grandeur of Monument Valley, Kodak took us there. Virtually every significant image of the 20th Century is a gift to posterity from the Eastman Kodak Company.
In an era of easy digital photography, when we can take a picture of anything at any time, we cannot imagine what life was like before George Eastman brought photography to people. Yes, there were photographers, and for relatively large sums of money they would take stilted pictures in studios and formal settings.
But most people couldnt afford photographs, and so all they had to remember distant loved ones, or earlier times of their lives, was memory. Children could not know what their parents had looked like as young people, grandparents far away might never learn what their grandchildren looked like.
Eastman Kodak allowed memory to move from the uncertainty of recollection, to the permanence of a photograph.
But it wasnt just people whose features were savable; it was events, the sacred and precious times that families cherish. The Kodak moment, was humanitys moment. It was that place in time where there is joy, where life has its ultimate purpose.
From the earliest round Brownie pictures, to the squares of 126 and the rectangles of 35mm, Kodak let the fleeting moments of birthdays and weddings, picnics and parties, be preserved and saved. It allowed for the creation of the most egalitarian art form. Lovers could take one anothers pictures, children were photographed walking out the door on the first day of school, the person releasing the shutter decided what was worth recording, and hundreds of millions of such decisions were made.
And for centuries to come, those long dead will smile and dance and communicate to their unborn progeny. Family history will be not only names on paper, but smiles on faces.
Thanks to Kodak.
The same Kodak that served is in space and on countless battlefields. This company went to war for the United States and played an important part in surveillance and reconnaissance. It also went to the moon and everywhere in between.
All while generating a cash flow that employed countless thousands of salt-of-the-earth people, and which allowed the companys founder to engage in some of the most generous philanthropy in Americas history. Not just in Kodaks home city of Rochester, New York, but in Tuskegee and London, and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He bankrolled two historically black colleges, fixed the teeth of Europes poor, and quietly did good wherever he could.
And Kodak made that possible.
While doing good, Kodak did very well.
And all the Kodakers over all the years are essential parts of that monumental legacy. They prospered a great company, but they with that company blessed the world.
That is what we should remember about the Eastman Kodak Company.
Like its founder, we should remember how it lived, not how it died.
My work is done.
Perhaps that is true of Kodak.
If it is, we should be grateful that such a company ever existed. We should rejoice in and show respect for that existence.
History will forget the small men who have scuttled this company.
But history will never forget Kodak.
Kodak is one of the worst companies for enforced political correctness in the whole United States. I've been boycotting them for years. It serves them right that in concentrating on political correctness, they've lost the competitive edge to allow them to develop industry leading digital imaging products to replace their silver halide technologies. They've been living off their old reputation and goodwill for too long.
Here's a link to a related thread.
Kodak shares plunge as bankruptcy fears escalate
YahooFinance ^ | Sep 30, 2011 | MICHAEL LIEDTK
Posted on 10/3/2011 10:48:51 AM by Daffynition
That actually made me tear up a bit.
The company either did not see or ignored the threat of the disruptive technology that was digital photography. Polaroid made the same mistake.
He said they looked at him like he was crazy and ignored him from there.
I agree. I have done business with them for years. Never in my career have a seen a more broken corporate culture. Every meeting has a “Cast of Thousands” where no one wants to make a decision. People change positions like Musical Chairs, and there is no accountability along the way. Once Rochester’s great employer, now a mere remnant of the past.........
Buggy whips are gone now too. Future shock.
In the mid-80s my group was working with Kodak on a new product line. We were going to purchase the product. One day a hatchet man showed up with the Kodak development team. The message was “you fund our remaining development and purchase the product at an inflated price and these people won’t get laid off.” We didn’t bite.
I used Kodak slide film for years until I finally had to go with Fuji. Boy was Kodachrome a great product. I have color slides my Grandparents took from the mid 40’s that are so vibrant in color, you would have thought they were shot yesterday.
I thought they had died a long time ago. I have not seen a roll of Verichrome Pan 127 roll film on the shelf in many years.
Look for an Obama Bailout.
Hasselblad went to the moon.
This seems like a prime candidate for an Obama bail out. A mismanaged company in a dying industry in a reliably Democratic state.
Kodak copiers were a silly misadventure.
It’s double heartbreak to see *American institutions* that us *oldsters* grew up with, and enjoyed their products for years and years, fall to the dust heap of history. Not having followed them for years, since I went digital, is no excuse for me not knowing how bad they had become.
Guess they join my brief lament for some newspapers I once enjoyed, American cars, and Stanley Tools.
I don’t like where we are going. Do you hear that USA? Breaks my heart.
Kodak painted itself into a corner decades ago. They had one product and no competitive advantage in the market.
Google search for Kodak Political Correctness
I agree about the layers of useless management. I worked at a subsidiary called ATEX all through the 1980’s. Same mentality there until almost 1990. Absolutely clueless. An article about a 10% RIF appeared in the Boston Globe the morning before it happened. Upper management dismissed the report. Because, as they said, “it was only a 9% RIF”.
Hasselbald did not make film. BTW, I’ve been given tours of both Hasselbald in Goethenberg and a Kodak plant in Rochester. Hasselbald was a like a hobby shop, Kodak was a real manufacturing facility. In the day.
One can look at a company as a “scale model” of a company. It may start out on a very good tact, with good economic policy and thinking. It may even prosper for awhile on past glory. But, eventually, with enough of the wrong people in the wrong places at the wrong time, it can begin to collapse, and when it reaches a sort of critical mass of mismanagement, nothing can stop it from winking out of existence.
Modern Art Photography
If we consider the history of creating imagery from primitive to the modern there must be certain timelines that account for how things happened. The ancients in the region recorded their thoughts, left messages and depicted their lives on the canyon walls, in their caves and on any media they found useful. Certainly all cultures found their own way to communicate; the talented few always came forward as their recorders of history. Were these talented few born with the creativity? Or did they develop this talent through intensive training in the technical process?
If we spring forward a thousand years we have the benefit of watching the evolution of the form. Although photography dates back to Leonardo da Vinci's inventions during the Renaissance, the modern camera was invented in the 1830s with daguerreotypes. The first cameras were large and bulky, so people came to the photographer's studio to have their pictures taken. This meant that the main purpose was to record what people looked like, which could be done more quickly and inexpensively than ever before. This has had a profound impact on art, and has prompted many artists to explore new styles. And so, modernism was born.
In painting and printmaking the form evolved into what was called the new art, beginning with the impressionists in about 1870. Photography continued recording the accuracy of what people looked like or to record history as evidenced during the Civil War with Mathew Brady. Here in Utah C.R. Savage was one of the first to record the important history. In southern Utah Jack Hillers accompanied John Wesley Powell in 1872 in the explorations of the Grand Canyon.
The science of the form drove their technique. But was it art? Most imagery was posed and not impromptu as evidenced by E.S Curtis and his circle. Images looked stilted and did not leave much to the imagination. But suddenly we spring forward to the turn of the twentieth century and the group formed in New York by Alfred Stieglitz.
Stieglitz was originally a leading figure in the promotion of the idea that photography harbored the same aesthetic potential as painting. He fostered the progress of artistic photography in this direction by showcasing the work of young photographers who challenged the dominant conception of the medium. Instead of showcasing the use of photography as a tool for documenting or depicting the details of nature, these young photographers attempted to show, primarily through imitation of painterly styles, that photography could attain status as an art form.
This new approach to art photography was inspirational for all that followed the form. They strive to do more than record the images of nature, rather they make a serious effort in creating art; art that is beyond simple imagery. This approach to modernism was introduced to the painter Maynard Dixon in 1920 when he met the young New York photographer Dorothea Lange. Dixon began distilling and simplifying his approach.
This period, 1920-1960, brought Dorothea Lange, Edward Weston, Ansel Adams and several other modernists to these regions for the purpose of making fine art photography. These were the purists with serious bias about their art form in black and white. Much of the art occurred in the darkroom. And then there was the life of photographic paper. The argument was that color would not hold. As color was introduced in the late thirties the art photographers held steady with their beliefs about the power of black and white. Several pioneers broke away from the old beliefs as papers improved with newer coatings and a better lifespan. Eliot Porter and David Muench in particular continued with the science of color as an art form.
And then digital happened. All of the old ideas about the art form changed.
After thirty years of work in all the above, Modern Art Photography was born. Suddenly new converts having found their own voices in this new digital world. The technical side of the problem is conquered with powerful technology from Canon and Nikon. The science is now taken care of and it is only left up to the artist to find his own voice in this brave new world.
ub, Copyright 2009
It used to be if you got a job at Kodak you were set for life. Sad to see it’s a dinosaur now.
Companies come, companies go...adapt or die.
I worked there as a software engineer
The woman in charge was an idiot so I told them I was leaving and gave two weeks notice
The idiot woman told me I couldn’t leave. I insisted for the two weeks that I was going. She honestly thought as the boss she could ORDER me to stay. She came from a government agency (20 and out!)
When I didnt show up the next Monday after my two weeks notice I got about 20 phone calls asking where I was, including several telling me I had to come to a meeting they would organize to explain myself.
I told them I didnt work there any more and I was not planning on coming to their meeting. They CALLED me from the meeting...
Then when they found out this idiot woman didnt know anything about writing software and needed to call me back to finish it about a years later, I found out I was on their ‘black list’ because I left and they could not hire me back. (Remember- THEY called ME to come back, because I was the only one who was able to make it work)
Libtards, all of them
Is there a product that I can use with my scanner to scan slides to a larger scale .jpg? I have heard there may be a scanning adapter but have only seen ones that will scan the slide in it’s original size (too small).
I had taken a few hundred slides to a local developer who gave me a break on the per quantity price and did a fantastic job, but when I showed up the next time with a few hundred more slides, the guy that worked with me the first time was no longer there and his manager wouldn’t budge on the cost.
Gee, come to think of it, I hope the first guy didn’t lose his job on my account... ;-)
Those who still have grandad’s stock certificates for E.H.& T Anthony are laughing in their hats.
Proof that there is no “Too big to fail” but instead, Too big to change.
” I have not seen a roll of Verichrome Pan 127 roll film on the shelf in many years.”
Ha! Nobody has. I still have an old 127 box camera. I used my share of Verichrome Pan 120, though. It made a great b&w proofing film for Ektacolor. I’ll miss Kodak. My whole Vietnam tour was recorded with many rolls Tri-X and a Voightlander Vito.
Out of curiosity, why? I liked the speed they had.
Having said that, in a previous job, one engineer told me she worked
on that product line at Kodak, and said she was given a month to
choose a component, something on the order of a resistor. She
decided she wanted to work in a more challenging company.
Wow... if that's true, then Kodak deserves to be shuttered.
“A real manufacturing facility”? It had its own Zip Code and Fire Department. It was the largest user of Silver in the world. Flat Cars of Silver would be lined up on the railroad tracks.
That’s funny because I had a similar experience with a female boss who had the IQ of dried dog shit.
She wound up getting canned anyway so I didn’t have to resort to leaving.
Fortunately, Lee-Neilsen keeps the Stanley and Bailey lineage alive and thriving.
I dabble in astronomy, and saw a notice a few years ago that some b/w astro-friendly films were no longer in production. Can’t remember the specifics.
My wife’s aunt’s boyfriend (practically my twin, in terms of affiliation) was the retired director of public relations for Kodak. Around twenty years ago he arranged a tour of one particular plant in downtown Rochester for me, completely without any prompting from me, and it would have seemed ungracious for me to decline. It was an interesting tour of a huge, buzzing, and largely automated facility. My wife had cousins in Rochester and they all either worked for Xerox of Kodak. Everything he says about Kodak people is true: wonderful, gracious Americans, all.
Remember when Kodak was sued by Polaroid and LOST over their instant pictures?
Kodak had the classic error. They did not know the business they were in. Even when it was staring them in the face. (remember the phrase “Kodak moment?” It was because film cost money and your images per roll were limited.)
They ALMOST had an idea with the printer with the cheeper ink but then failed again.
Perhaps the reason Kodak failed is the same reason Pan Am ultimatly failed.
Every once in a while I see devices that transfers slides to your computer in catalogs like Sharper Image. As far as I know, they are full size when they are transferred. I know our local camera shop gets an arm and a leg to do it so I just break out the old Kodak carousel and screen.
I used to work in the industry. I mixed chemistry and monitored the Kodachrome and print processors.
I remember the days when we were having trouble keeping the Kodak high speed printers in balance. The kodak rep. said we had to use Kodak paper. The plant manager got him to show up anyway, but parked 3 skids of Fuji paper outside the printer room doors so the rep. had to walk around them.
At Raychem (another company that is no more) we called them HMBAs. The management (which included as president a guy whose wife was one of the heirs to the Levi Strauss bucks and who went to Harvard) was enamored with Harvard MBA’s. They were over paid and most of them could not figure out the way to the men’s room. Now Raychem is no more, having been swallowed up by Kosloski and Company (Tyco). The other hallmark of Raychem was the management always having their self-interest above that of the company.
Hasselblad camera, Kodak film.
All around us
Everywhere we look
Every moment that we live
Can fill a picture book
Light and shadows
Smiles and sentimental tears
They’re a precious treasure
We can cherish through the years
Making memories, making memories
Taking pictures is making memories
Catching little pieces of time
Making them yours, making them mine
Great vacations and celebrations
Can fade away in a year
Cause when we’re making memories
Happy days are always here
Happy days are always here
My God... small world. I worked there as a software engineer for many years. I probably know who you are referring to. Are her initials NP by any chance? Or possibly AF? They had the worst management of any company, not pnly on Earth, but in the entire galaxy..
I worked at Kodak for 5 years.
As the digital imaging revolution arrived, Kodak lost sight of their customer. They thought retail stores were the customers, and satisfied their demands ... but the button pushing picture taking public were the real customers, and when (despite plenty of warning) the general public went digital en mass, film providers were far behind the curve.
Kodak had great technology, but chose to outsource digital products instead of make the massive painful transition to leverage that technology for a changing market. Being a photographic chemical company, they had the choice of sticking to photographic or chemical but not both. They chose wrong.
This a company which, AFAIK into the ‘90s, had an indoor rifle range.
Let’s not forget the indoor pool they built on the 6th floor at Kodak Park. The never filled the pool because nobody did the math until after it was built, somebody ran the numbers and reported that the building would collapse if they filled it with water. They used it for years as a developing tank for large prints. I kid you not.. this actually happened.
Houston farmed in Dakota Territory and the name Kodak came from Dakota. Of course, once the invention became famous and Eastman became involved in lawsuit infringement patents as to just which patent rights he had purchased, he tried to claim the name of his now famous company was inspired by the sound of a camera clicking.
I used to do field service for a formerly great instrument and computer company at all the EK facilities in the Rochester area. I was at one of the guarded entrances to the park when Ronald Reagan visited. He stood with the guards for photos. A week later when I returned one of the guards showed me the photo. It was printed on Fuji paper. We both had a good laugh over that one.
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