Who killed Kodak?

I came across an interesting interview with Eli Harari, the founder of Sandisk, via Mike Johnston’s blog: The Online Photographer.

It is 20 pages, but at the middle of page 19, begins this quote:

“(At a) 2010 Consumer Electronics Show, I was walking through the booth, and– with another guy, a SanDisk guy, so when we were going into the Kodak booth, he kind of whispers to me, kind of in jest, he says, “You know, you better not let them know who you are.” And I said, I was a little puzzled, I said, “Well, what do you mean?” He said, “Well, you are the man who killed Kodak.”

“And I thought about it, and actually, no, really Kodak killed Kodak. I didn’t kill Kodak, nobody killed Kodak, they killed themselves. We worked with Kodak Japan on this compact flash, parts of Kodak understood the value and the power of this technology, and were very strong partners of ours. But the hubris that you get, at some of these companies that have a monopoly, Kodak had 70 percent market share in film. They were 65 percent, or so, gross margin, so they were just milking it, and they just wanted this thing to go away. And they had the technology, Kodak had the CCD technology, they had the digital imaging, they had everything they needed to displace themselves, but they didn’t have the guts to do it, and it was done for them.

“I mean, we were part of that, we enabled digital photography, but it was not– we never dreamed that we would– what had happened. … because silver halide is such a good technology, …, you have 30 megapixel resolution, you know, perfect images, for $2.99, $3.99 for 24, so – but you kind of see the extent of the devastation to Kodak. Their market cap today is about one tenth of SanDisk market cap, and I think that we are undervalued. So this is a very unforgiving field.”

I know this doesn’t end the endless discussion about Kodak, but it’s an interesting view from one individual. I rather agree with him that “Kodak killed Kodak”.

The Online Photographer: http://theonlinephotographer.typepad.com/the_online_photographer/2015/04/eli-the-mysterious.html

The link to the full interview is at: http://archive.computerhistory.org/resources/access/text/2012/03/102745933-05-01-acc.pdf

Brownie Starflash

Film photography seems to create a bit of nostalgia for some folks. Well, and a lot of nostalgia for others, but that’s another story. Late middle age will do that, too.  As a late-middle-aged photographer, I have thought many times about the cameras I had as a boy, long before I was ever in a darkroom. And let’s not forget my February 8th post in this very blog:

https://silverdarkroom.wordpress.com/2015/02/08/let-us-now-praise-crappy-cameras/

It is likely all of the attention these cameras are getting that caused me to want to add these memories from childhood to my collection. There were two: The first was a lime green Savoy. I don’t know what happened to it, and I don’t think I have any surviving pictures taken with it, with one possible exception.

The second was a Brownie Starflash. Our household owned two of these. Again, I do not know what happened to them, but I do have some surviving negatives and a few prints from one of these cameras. I used it well into high school.  I also have many, many “superslides” that my Dad took.  The 127 film was the perfect format for larger, square slides that still fit a 35mm sized mount and projector.  They were very popular in the day.

Here’s a picture of my parents and me in 1960, with a Starflash around my Dad’s neck:

beach

And, of course, the most notable picture I took with one (also in the Feb. 8 post)

tower small

I’ve always been on the lookout for good examples of these two cameras. I’ve never seen a Savoy in the flesh, in any condition. In the past, I have come across many Starflashes, but they had never met my criteria for price vs. condition, so I never purchased one. They are not rare. There were dozens on the world famous auction site last week, and I spotted one that I got at a really good price (which met my criteria) and looked to be in almost unused condition. It does look almost new, has its original neck strap, is still in its very worn box, and has its owner’s manual!

starflash

However, the shutter does not work. I went back and re-read the auction listing, and all it said was it looked good, it did not specify “working condition”. Given the price and the cosmetic condition, I am disappointed, but cannot really fault the seller. The shutter appears to work (it clicks) but is sticking.

I had not planned to use the camera, anyway, as it takes 127 film. One can still get some film in the 127 size, and I do have a developing reel for that format (go figure), but it is expensive.

The Savoy must be much more rare, going by the supply vs. price part of the supply/demand curve. There are very few of them for sale, and the ones that are selling are over twice what I paid for the Starflash; especially the lime green ones. They came in other colors, which don’t seem to command as high a price. Go figure.  And, it takes 620 film, which can be re-rolled from readily available 120 film.  It’s like a Holga without the light leaks.

savoy

I remain on the hunt.

Think small.

In an age of ever increasing gallery print size, I am experiencing an unusual and unexpected difficulty in selecting a group of images.

In selecting photographs for an exhibition or a portfolio, I’ve always had the advantage of keeping the selection consistent, so that the 6, or 12, or 18 photographs all “went’ together. In my last exhibition, I had selected six photographs, and both my wife, a painter, and the exhibit’s curator singled out the same photograph because it “didn’t go” with the other five. I was able to substitute one that did “go”.

Now I’m faced with picking photographs for the reverse side of my new business card. The printer not only can print a fairly high resolution photograph on the back of business cards, but can print different images; that is, each individual card can have a separate image, as long as you are willing to process, scan, and upload all of them.

I’m ordering one or two hundred cards (haven’t decided), so I am not going to have different images on each card. That’s a little much. But I do want 6, or 8, or 10.

Does quantity = complexity?

Not necessarily. However, this selection is complicated by two additional factors: 1) the small size of the image, and 2), I’ve started shooting color seriously and want to have both color and black and white.

Color is an advantage in one way, in that it is already digital, and the photographs only have to be processed and sized for the cards. The black and white photographs must be scanned, being film based. It is really the size of the card that is a complicating factor.

By now, we’re all used to looking at small images on computer screens and on smart phones. However, small images on a screen or a phone do not look like prints. Subtleties of tonal relationships are often lost in a very small image. Even smart phone images probably look better than a tiny photograph printed offset.

So, I want to pick a selection that is representative, comprehensive, and of a graphic nature that will survive printing on a business card.

Will this look good on a business card?

beach2 framed

It shouldn’t be this hard. Stay tuned.