Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Ryan Pyle Blog: Kodak Suffering / But Still Supporting


I have been wanting to blog about Kodak for some time now, and it took an article I read a few weeks back to jump-start my process.

First the article: yes, according to the photo world Kodak is retiring Kodachrome, it's most famous color film brand; used for decades by thousands of photographers; and was even the film used by Steve McCurry when he captured his famous "Afghan girl with green eyes" image that graced the cover of best selling National Geographic edition ever.

LINK: New York Times: Kodak Will Retire Kodachrome

I was shocked to read that color film only seems to represent 1% of Kodaks "still-picture" business, while they generate 70% of their revenues from digital sources. Amazing that Kodak, once synonymous with the word "film" is now out of the color game that it started in the 1950s and 1960s. It's a bit of a sad day for us film lovers out there.

Moving laterally, but still slightly on topic, I am a heavy user of Black and White Kodak TriX 400 film. It's what I use to produce my work from Xinjiang and I completely depend on it for the completion of my project. And even while Kodak is clearly experiencing a lot of turmoil in their film business, I actually received a very nice letter from Mary jane Hellyar, who was also interviewed in the NYTimes article, who congratulated me on being named an emerging photographer by PDN and then proceeded to offer me a significant amount of Black and White TriX for free; to help support my work.

I was a good way. I would just like to use this space to again thank Mary Jane Hellyar and Kodak. Big batches of film are the best gift in the world.

Mary Jane Hellyar is the President of Kodak's film business and the offer of assistance and support is very welcomed. I was overwhelmed with her letter and very appreciative to have a company whose products I use to produce my images offer some form of support. Given the state of the film industry I would have to say that my enthusiasm is even greater.

In a show of continued support I just ordered about 200 rolls of TriX on B&H a few days back. This autumn is going to be full of some heavy shooting as I am trying to put the finishing touches on my Xinjiang project. I hope the film division of Kodak are around long enough to see the published work. My guess is they will be. Black and White and fine art photographers still rely pretty heavily on Kodak and my guess is that their Black and White business is still profitable; and I hope that is not just wishful thinking.

Again, thank you Kodak! :)

Ryan Pyle

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Ryan Pyle