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Thread: The End of Forte :-(((

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Sep 2006
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    Budapest, Hungary
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    3

    The End of Forte :-(((

    Hi Evryone!

    I am usually only read your posts but today I thought i have somesthing to say, so here it is...

    Yesterday, on Valentine's Day (14. 02. 2007.) – how ironic – an old and legendary photochemical company closed down – Forte Photochemical Company, Vác, Hungary. That was the day for a factory tour called ´Forte forever - the last packaging´ for anybody interested (unfortunately I could not be there). They were selling the last limited number of boxes with special stamp on it „Forte Forever – Az utolsó kiszerelés – 2007. február 14.” which in English is something like „Forte Forever – the last packaging – 14. February 2007.”. The company was founded 1922 by Kodak who owned it until 1947 when a Hungarian bank bought it. The film, paper and chemical recipes hasn't changed much over time and they were based on the old classical Kodak formulas until this day. There were times when Forte produced 3.5 million square meters of photo paper and 1 million square meter of film a year. There are words floating around about some investors but the chances are very very vague in my opinion. You can read an article on this on www.hg.hu , (only in Hungarian, anyway I told the essence of it already for you in English). I attached a few pictures for you all, more picture can be found on the following link: Forte Pictures. Well, not much to say...

    Pictures' copyright is unknown for me but taken from www.hg.hu.

    Originally posted on my blog.

  2. #2

    Join Date
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    Baraboo, Wisconsin
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    7,695

    Re: The End of Forte :-(((

    Thanks, even for someone like me who is moving more and more to digital it's sad to see these old line companies go down the tubes. There really is no photography industry as such any more, the big companies are mostly either gone like Agfa or are switching to digital like Kodak, the little cottage industry companies have disappeared. "Photography" is now a sub-set of the home entertainment or electronics industry. It's hard to believe today but when I first became involved with photography as a teenager I bought my darkroom supplies at the local drugstore.
    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.

  3. #3

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    Pasadena, CA
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    Re: The End of Forte :-(((

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Ellis View Post
    "Photography" is now a sub-set of the home entertainment or electronics industry.
    The saddest part of the whole thing is the concept that the camera you bought last year needs to be replaced and updated this year.

  4. #4

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    Oct 2003
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    NYC
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    Re: The End of Forte :-(((

    I too shoot mostly digital nowadays but have a great darkroom and have always wanted to eventually go back to shooting film. I have many fond memories of being in the darkroom with some good tunes playing and it is sad to see it all disappear so quickly. This only makes me want to shoot film more.

  5. #5
    Michael Alpert
    Guest

    Re: The End of Forte :-(((

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Chini View Post
    it is sad to see it all disappear so quickly
    Let's not overstate the situation. I don't see it ALL disappearing. In fact, it is pretty easy to work as a large-format photographer. With a bit of effort, anyone can find needed supplies that are of terrific quality. (In less "developed" countries, it takes more effort, as it always has.) The smaller companies make fine products, so film-based photography is not disappearing; it is adapting as a more specialized field. I think these Internet forums, along with digital-company advertising, sometimes give a false impression. I just finished reading Todd Webb's journal: finding film and other supplies in the late 1940s was much harder than today, and he was in Manhattan. As far as I am concerned, we really have nothing to complain about.

  6. #6

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    Re: The End of Forte :-(((

    Michael-

    You are correct. There are plenty of materials out there as of now and I have a known tendency for hyperbole! Still, it is sad so much of it is disappearing including some of my preferred materials, AZO, Fortezo and the older Kodak printing papers.

  7. #7
    Abuser of God's Sunlight
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    Re: The End of Forte :-(((

    Quote Originally Posted by PViapiano View Post
    The saddest part of the whole thing is the concept that the camera you bought last year needs to be replaced and updated this year.
    Or the paper you used last year (and had to learn how to use) being replaced by a new one this year. Sadly, this has been the whole history of the medium ... photographers getting attached to a tool or material or process, only to have it pulled out from under them in the name of technological change. My teachers were crying when the original Portriga got "improved". Weston cried when commercial platinum papers vanished. I cried when Forte closed down (the first time, a few years ago ... this time i was prepared for it).

    It's silly to think that inevitable obsolescence (of tools and knowledge to use them) was somehow invented by the digital world. The rapid pace of change is happening because we're on a technological upswing ... the early stages when new ideas follow right on the heels of the last ones. It's frustrating, but probably better to on an upswing than a downswing. When a digital widget or material is made obsolete, it's because something better or cheaper has come along. When a factory like Forte goes under, it's just lost. There's no better/cheaper silver paper being introduced to replace it. And in fact any remaining paper that can compete with it is in danger of vanishing too, which makes me hesitant to invest in learning to use it.

    Seems like we're on the same frustrating roller coaster we've always been on. It comes from relying on a technological medium, which photography has been since the start.

  8. #8

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    Re: The End of Forte :-(((

    Quote Originally Posted by PViapiano View Post
    The saddest part of the whole thing is the concept that the camera you bought last year needs to be replaced and updated this year.
    I'm sorry, but I really don't understand why would you need to replace a last year's camera?

    My seven-year old Canon D30 is still working perfectly fine. I got another Canon, this time an 8 MP, but because I wanted to, not because I had to.

  9. #9

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    Re: The End of Forte :-(((

    Yea, like LF photographers never change equipment.:-)

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Jun 2005
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    Re: The End of Forte :-(((

    I look at it from a different angle. I look at the myriad of Fotoman's cameras, the new (not yet born but conceived) hand held Arca Swiss cameras, the multiplying Alpa camera types and I see the there are industrial heads that believe in film photography as the way to do business now and in future. Enough of camera types to choose from - and what was not there I made myself for my own needs. Eh, what a great time we live in!

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