So it’s goodbye to Kodak and all who sail in her, at least it’s goodbye to all your pictures on their server and too late, if you wanted to order prints!
Now if you weren’t aware of this sayonara, that may be because you haven’t checked your email in the past couple of days, because it was only on Thursday that I got an email saying that my account was being closed and if I didn’t get the photos down by July 23rd, I’d lose them.
Now, being a bit of an early adopter, I have occasionally made a rod for my own back by my quick uptake of gadgets and facilities. Early use of Mobile Me, for instance, has resulted in a double Apple sign in and the need to move my mail and documents to iCloud. I’ve also got got to do something about iWork, that’s pending, but whereas Kodak gave me three days notice of closure and three weeks to download my photos, Apple gave me a year: go figure why one company is going down the tubes and the other from strength to strength and don’t get me started on Kodak Easyshare ….. I thought not.
But enough with the negativity, it’s a sad day, for those whose memories are made of this. Those of us of a certain age remember with fondness, and maybe still have, our Kodak cameras, witness this photo taken by me on my Kodak Instamatic in 1969.
Kodak pioneered the point and shoot, their film and processing for the likes of me was reliable and delightful, even if the quality of the photographer was a little lacking. No doubt many can trace back their love of photography to their first camera, which may well have been a Kodak.
That being said, things have changed recently. Years ago if you had asked a random sample of people this question: ‘Assuming all your loved ones and your pets are safe, what would you run back into a burning building to rescue?’ A huge number of people would have said ‘My photographs.’ Quite a few of them would have gone for the photos over and above the loved ones and pets. Ask that question now and the yoof of today will look at you as if you’re mad – why would you go anywhere near a burning building unless it was for your make up or trainers? Your photos are safe, they are on the internet…. somewhere.
Nowadays photos have the currency of language, they are not art or even memories, they are a form of image slang, as commonplace as a taboo word, or a verbal filler, and just as language is always with us, the youth of today think the images will also always be with us. Hopefully they are right, but while the digital empire expands into every element of our lives, so do its sicknesses, it’s viruses and our own dependency on it, and I’ve always been a little wary of total dependency. It is almost impossible to persuade our children to print out and place in an album hard copies of their photos, rights of passage take place but photos are recorded on phones and compressed for Facebook, with vague promises that they will print something out for mummy that are honoured in a slightly patronising mannered.
This, coupled with what is barely hidden annoyance, as said parents try to take photos at times such as Christmas, birthday, prom or …. oh the boy’s graduate film showing at BAFTA – not to mention the fact that rushed photos taken on a phone, or cheap digital camera, don’t have the quality of good old fashioned film. I don’t suppose film will go away and, no doubt, given a few years the current younger generation will find its retro qualities attractive, just as vinyl is making a resurgence in music. Moreover as Kodak slides into oblivion, there are a host of companies willing to offer photographic prints and albums and even home equipment that will do the job.
It does seem a shame though, that Kodak did not see it coming, as this article by Peter Pachal How Kodak Squandered Every Digital Opportunity It Had explains.
Hell – the rest of us saw it coming!
In the meantime I must stop running round the living room screaming ‘MY PHOTOS! MY PHOTOS!’ and go and download my Kodak gallery.