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Thread: future of B&W

  1. #11

    future of B&W

    If you are truly passionate about LF photography, then you do not even consider the whims and fancies of the corporate world. It truly does not matter. Don hit the nail directly on the head - you do what you have to do to make images. W H Jackson as just one example, did so years before infrastructure even thought about a commercial venture and his negatives from the late 1800's are simply marvelous even by today's standards as are his prints.

    I look at it this way. If you could go for say a month (or longer) without making images and it does not drive you crazy then do yourself a favor and sell your equipment while the prospects are still good and fine another hobby to distract yourself with. Go digital, make cabinets or whatever. Without the passion and the enjoyment that comes from the engagement of that passion, whats the point? All you are doing is introducing stress in your life that you do not need. This industry is far from dead but perception if the only reality. And you can tell immediately by responses to this question what kind of attitude folks have about the future.


  2. #12
    Old School Wayne
    Join Date
    Dec 1999

    future of B&W

    This industry is far from dead

    there will always be a company that will cater to those people.

    Rofl, you gotta love this kind of optimism in the face of reality! Ilford, Kodak, Agfa
    are all struggling or drowning recently, but somehow the others will remain solvent despite the rapidly waning profitability. Dont count on it, IMO self-coating is the way of the future. We can thank our buddies who have all switched to digital imaging. Sensing photography's imminent demise, even more will do so now, increasing the rate of decline.

  3. #13

    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    San Joaquin Valley, California

    future of B&W

    Kentmere, Foma, Oriental, and Ilford are alternatives. You can also coat your own.

    The only Kodak paper I've used since the Great Yellow Father in Rochester discontinued graded faber based paper is AZO. I'll stock up on it(it keeps darn near forever anyway) The same goes for aerial film, which is dated by the time I get ahold of it anyway. Michael Smith apparently has an alternative for AZO in the works.

    I think the greater impact is on what this spells for the future of Kodak film and chemicals. Tri-X is my default standard. D-76 I can get from several suppliers like NACCO---a company almost as old as Kodak---but if Kodak isn't making paper, theres no point in Kodak making Dektol either. There are other chemicals and films that I use so even this revolting development isn't as bad as it seems.

    I might look more closely at ansco 130, both a film and paper developer in one sauce---and I don't have to worry about Ansco disappearing---it already has (apparently several times over)---the stuff comes from Photographer's Formulary.

    Alas, the only thing I think I'll really miss about Kodak pulling out of B&W is the cheery yellow and red boxes and envelopes.
    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.

  4. #14

    future of B&W

    Hi there,

    B&W photography will out-last the British monarchy!


    "One of the major differences between digital photography and traditional photography is the ability to make a completely irreversible mistake. Now, to many people this may not seem like an advantage, but I see it as something that is crucial in any artform."

    You hit the nail on the head. It's the difference between an original A.A. and a digi-print at the sprawl-mall.


    "Rofl, you gotta love this kind of optimism in the face of reality! "

    China and India are the worlds largest markets and they are just coming online. They have their own silver supplies so they won't be hijacked by the precious metals market. Kodak bought a major share of 'Lucky' film in China, the other partner is China herself. Kodak has a century of R&D in the vaults but more importantly they have the actual production line recipe books on hand. I seriously doubt they will throw this away as worthless.

    Just a few thoughts.

  5. #15

    Join Date
    Dec 1997
    Baraboo, Wisconsin

    future of B&W

    "Also, the only thing I think I'll really miss about Kodak pulling out of B&W is the cheery hellow and red boxes and envelopes."

    I don't use Kodak paper either but I'm very interested in the future of film photography in general and black and white film photography in particular. So when Kodak totally discontinues production of all b&w paper after having been the major player in that market for over a century I get concerned. You can only say so many times "I don't use Agfa paper so I'm not concerned," "I don't use Ilford paper so I'm not concerned," "I don't use Tech Pan so I'm not concerned," "I don't use Kodak paper so I'm not concerned" until pretty soon there's nothing left to be concerned about.

    I know that Kodak hasn't always made the best decisions, I know that its products haven't been 100% perfect, I know that its representatives haven't always displayed the best of attitudes but I don't see how anyone interested in traditional photography of any kind can look at Kodak's difficulties without being concerned, whether you use the particular discontinued product du jour or not.
    Brian Ellis
    Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you do criticize them you'll be
    a mile away and you'll have their shoes.

  6. #16

    future of B&W

    It seems funny to me that everyone laughs about the end of digital and makes comparissons to all the other processes that died off: collodion, tintypes, daguerrotypes, etc. But last time I checked there were still people doing all these processes. Some of them even seem to be growing more popular. And these processes can't really be compared to the current silver gelatin process because no where near as many people were making photographs back when all of those processes dissappeared. If there still is a market today in which Bostick & Sullivan can survive, then why not a company producing film and paper?

  7. #17
    Mark Sawyer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Stuck inside of Tucson with the Neverland Blues again...

    future of B&W

    "Kodak bought a major share of 'Lucky' film in China..."

    Hmmm... sounds to me as though Kodak is moving jobs to China (albeit many are jobs they'd already moved to Brazil), and blaming digital. Wonder if we'll soon be shooting Lucky Tri-X and printing on Lucky Azo?

    Lucky us...
    "I love my Verito lens, but I always have to sharpen everything in Photoshop..."

  8. #18

    future of B&W

    I meant end of "traditional photography" ... I guess digital was just on my mind

  9. #19

    future of B&W

    I think it means that the few small dedicated companies who are committed to this will get a little more business, as Kodak and others drop out of this niche.

    I say, support the smaller companies. I was thinking about getting a box or two of Azo, but now I think I'll get some Ilford Galerie and try some of the Berger offerings.

    I would bet that Kodak will still offer some black and white, probably their b&w Portra which is processed in the color chemistry. I just hope they don't discontinue the Tri-X 320 for a long while!

  10. #20
    grumpy & miserable Joseph O'Neil's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    London, Ontario

    future of B&W

    I'm tired of "end of the world " senarios. A few facts for all of you:

    1) A business seminar a went to some time ago talked about hwo buggy whip makers are all out of business. Not quite true. A recent news report pointed out that the physical number of horses in our local county is higher now than it was 100 years ago when everybody used horse and buggy instead of a car. Tack shops are *very* busy thank you.

    2) Although mechanized carding and processing of wool has been around for a long time, there are dozens of specialty shops accorss the USA where you can buy hand carding tools for wool. Hand driven carders are still made today. Wool garmets made from hand selected and carded wool command a premium price.

    3) along those same lines, I find that the most expensive products and services sold, are, in no particual order;
    - hand built furniture;
    - hand sewn quilts;
    - oil painted or water colour portriats
    ..just some examples.

    4) I live in the middle of the Great Lakes . All the local harbours are full of boats for summertime. Teh vast majority of them - especially if you are wealthy at all - are sailboats. The real status symbol is not a motorized boat, but a sailboat.
    Shouldn't somebody tell all these people that steam power and gasoline fired engines replaced sails over 100 yers ago?

    Am I the only one that sees an overall trend here? Let everybody go digital. Just makes what we do all the more valuable. You can still buy chain mail armour (didn't that go out of fashion a few hudnred years ago ? , replacement parts for Model-T cars, - well, do I have to go on? We will - if not already - have a unique product. waht's wrong with that?

    Kodak getting out of the paper business is most likely a good thing in the long run as it will allow smaller companies - Ilford, Bergger, Forte, etc, etc all to expand and grow into a larger market.

    One last thing - the point everybody seems to be avoiding. John Sexton notwithstanding - as I repsect the man and he is 100 times better a printer than I can even ever dream of being - the point is - KODAK PAPERS SUCK! I mean it, they let thier best slide downhill ten years ago. I used to love thier Elite and Panlure papers, but the darned stuff, once exposed to air, would "grey out" on you if you didn't use it all up within a couple months. I have some Galerie and a few sheets of Portriga that have been in storage some time, some for years, and it works just fine - no greying out on me.

    Being sad that Kodak is stopping B&W paper production is like crying over the fact that the Ford Pinto or the AMC Gremlin are no longer in production. This is something to be sad about?

    Ten years ago I said to the people at one of the local camera stores that Kodak was delibertely killing off their best, so that the new emerging digital products would look good - nothing to compare digital ptints to if you get rid of all the best traditional papers, right? It is not conspiracy, just plain old Marketing 101. Frankly I am surpized it took ten years. How many of you used Kodak paper on a regular basis in the past few years? Not me.

    I think the future looks bright. Sorry for the long rant, but I am just tired of allt he doom and gloom, end of hte world stuff anymore. Terrriorist are gonna get us all. A giant asteriod will wipe us all out. The flu pandemic is comming. Kodak is stopping B&W paper production. Dammit it all, even if the world is comming to and end in the next 24 hours, I don't care anymore, I'm going out later today with a dozen sheets of HP5+ loaded up in my film holders, and I am going to have a good time, torpedoes be damned and all that stuff.
    soapbox mode = off

    eta gosha maaba, aaniish gaa zhiwebiziyin ?

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