Things are not looking too sharp for Kodak

January 5, 2012

For over a century Kodak has been one of the premier companies in America. Once upon a time it created the most well regarded product in its field in the form of Kodachrome slide film. If you were a photographer who worked in high end magazine photography  whether the camera in your hands was a Leica or a Hasselblad it was probably loaded with Kodachrome.

The magazine that printed your photo may have dissolved into landfill in a few months; but the Kodachrome slide would still be sharp with all the colors intact. I have seen Kodachrome slides taken in the 1940s that still look like they were taken yesterday. Kodachrome was famed for being the only archival color film in existence. All the others lose their colors and the jury is still out on how long digital images will last.

But those times are gone.  Kodak has gradually phased out Kodachrome– most professional photographers have found it easier to switch to digital. You can buy a digital adapter for your Hasselblad (if you have a spare $20,000 lying around.)

The Wall Street Journal reports that investors are unloading  Kodak stock shares priced below 50 cents.

Kodak will file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. It remains to be seen whether the company will be able to take advantage of filing and recover strongly like Chrysler in the 1970s and many other companies since. On the other hand it could gradually disappear like quite a few other once famed companies. Here is a list from Wikipedia containing both those that survived and some that did not: List of Business Failures.




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