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Thread: George Eastman Spinning In His Grave

  1. #1

    George Eastman Spinning In His Grave

    The once-mighty Kodak announced the closing of their photofinishing subsidiary, Qualex, and the three remaining photofinishing operations that provided service to the United States. George Eastman must be spinning in his grave! Kodak was built upon photofinishing, from Mom and Pop drugstores, to early camera stores, to Kodak stores and massive photofinishing operations. Surely, this must be a battle the digiheads at Kodak have won. Which begs the questions, the Kodak digiheads ask, if Kodak does not provide photofinishing, why manufacture film, equipment, darkroom chemicals, paper, or anything else related to or supporting non-digitial photography?
    The day will come that college business classes will study Kodak as an example of how to kill yourself one step at a time. Why not, for example, mop up all the photofinishing business left, even if it gets down to having one central operation in the United States? With new or remodeled Walmart stores eliminating one hour processing, why not go after all that business? Why leave all the processing business to Walgreens and Target stores, and others, not to mention centralized Fuji processing operations for Walmart? Why not try to sell the photofinishing operations to someone who cares and sees the remaining potential? Yes, Kodak, cut one vein at a time and before long all your blood is gone!

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Van Buren, Arkansas

    Re: George Eastman Spinning In His Grave

    Are new/remodeled Wal-Mart stores really eliminating their one-hour labs?

  3. #3
    falth j
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Above the Straits

    Re: George Eastman Spinning In His Grave

    A little history from my perspective...

    About six years ago, I bought a Nikon F5, and since the only outlet for film in town was at w-mart, where there was a wide selection of negative film types from which to choose.

    W-mart never sold transparency film at this store.

    At the time w-mart had a half side of a gondola, or approximately twenty-five lineal feet of shelving about five feet high loaded with film on shelves, and peg-board from which to make a choice and purchase.

    I often talked with the film processor clerk and he said that the day after Christmas, he could expect to process over 500 rolls of film, which tapered down to about 200 rolls of film a day for the next two weeks.

    His lab threw out the old processors about four years ago, and installed the latest, greatest, state of the art equipment.

    On any given day, on average, he said they processed about 100 rolls of film a day.

    Over the intervening years, daily processing dropped off.

    I noticed that the shelf space allotted to film decreasing almost on a monthly basis.

    The most notable change occurred when Polaroid announced that it was going out of the film business.

    At the time the shelving space for film dropped dramatically.

    Now, there is barely two four foot long shelves that have film on them.

    This past Christmas, I asked the clerk about how many rolls of film they had processed, and the answer was less than thirty!

    A decline from 500 rolls to less than 30 rolls of film processed for the day after Christmas, leaves little doubt as to what has happened to the film market here, and then spread those kind of percentages across all of the w-mart operation, it leads to a stark reality of what has happened to the market for film in the span of just five or six short years...

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Austin TX

    Re: George Eastman Spinning In His Grave

    Shakespeare predicted the death of film even more eloquently then I can.

    "This thought is as a death which cannot choose,
    But weeps to have that which it fears to lose"

    Nate Potter, Austin TX.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Jun 2002

    Re: George Eastman Spinning In His Grave

    All the other local custom labs have closed and Edgar started doing more mail order, his lab is doing great.

    BTW, they might move George Eastman's grave. He is buried outside a factory on Lake Avenue on the edge of Kodak Park, which is shrinking through building demolition (so they don't have to pay taxes.)

  6. #6
    LJ Segil
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Highland Park, IL

    Re: George Eastman Spinning In His Grave

    Or as per Garcia/Hunter
    "Such a long, long time to be gone and a short time to be there"

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    San Joaquin Valley, California

    Re: George Eastman Spinning In His Grave

    Life goes on, lads!

    If I have a concern it is about processing b&w film. I "road tested" a few rolls of new TMax 400 in the 35mm and had it processed at a local photo store (with an excellent reputation, btw.)
    The prints came out terribly grainy---not what I'd expected.

    OK I probably asked for this.

    Shooting LF I find that I need to mail order just about everything I use, and processing and printing my own stuff, which I'm used to.
    BUT what of the photographers who still shoot 35mm and want to try Kodak's latest and greatest B&W film in the family Nikon?

    Unless they pack it off to a custom lab, they might likely be disappointed (which certainly isn't good news for Kodak) so a potential customer might pass on the project.

    We don't live in George Eastman's time. As a saavy "cutting edge" tycoon, George would likely have the foresight to keep Kodak "cutting edge" as well if he were alive and kicking today. Too bad the chiefs at Kodak aren't made of the same stuff as the original George.

    Sad, but does it matter? Kodak is the sentimental favorite (mine, anyway) but sentimentality often leads to banality.

    We have the large, medium and small format tools we need. It takes a bit of planning and work to "roll your own" but I find it worthwhile. Snapshots are soon likely going to be 100% digital as has nearly all commercial gone. I would not be surprised if, not too far down the road, traditional photography will be offered in schools as being some quiant and obscure art form, like intaglio or some such.

    This dosen't bother me in the least, other than the very tragic loss of jobs in the supporting industry

    Be happy! Make pictures!
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.
    I'm not OCD. I'm CDO which is alphabetically correct.

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Oct 2006

    Re: George Eastman Spinning In His Grave

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Bagbey View Post
    George Eastman must be spinning in his grave! Yes, Kodak, cut one vein at a time and before long all your blood is gone!

    My father-in-law worked for Eastman Kodak for 33 years and he thinks that Eastman should push digital as hard as they can; he has no romantic notions about film.

    Film based recreational photography and film based commercial photography are dead as far as a growth market are concerned. Motion pictures are slowly beginning to go entirely digital for shooting and distribution. Medical and scientific imaging are shifting to digital.

    Digital photography is here to stay and if Kodak doesn't follow that market then they will be out of business.

    Companies, especially large companies such as Kodak have to re-invent themselves every few years if they want to continue as a successful business.

    It's time to accept the fact that things have changed in photography.

    Don Bryant

  9. #9
    multi format
    Join Date
    Feb 2001

    Re: George Eastman Spinning In His Grave

    but their ink jet printers they sell inbetween shows on the cartoon network
    seem to be selling like hotcakes! pigment ink, and a printer that costs
    very little, and makes "archival" prints.

  10. #10
    Big Negs Rock!
    Join Date
    Mar 2000

    Re: George Eastman Spinning In His Grave

    There is more origination of films in digital format, but there is no archiving. Film is still the only archive medium. The storage rate is significantly different in cost. Digital storage is about 20 times more expensive per year than film -- and it's still not archived. When the content migration and technological migration is figured in, whatever you may've saved by originating in digital capture is long gone after a few years in the post/archive world.
    Mark Woods

    Large Format B&W
    Cinematography Mentor at the American Film Institute
    Past President of the Pasadena Society of Artists
    Director of Photography
    Pasadena, CA

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