I attended a talk this week by Michael Bain, Ilford Photo's North American rep. It was a fascinating and inspiring talk about Ilford's path through the changing photographic landscape over the years. The black and white film market is a fraction of what it was, but they have restructured the company around the new realities. Interestingly, 35mm film sales are flat, but Ilford is seeing steady growth in medium and large format film. In printing paper, RC paper sales are flat, but there is growth in fiber papers, which is where they've launched new products. He emphasized over and over that Ilford Photo is financially healthy and fully committed to black and white film photography. They are a small company facing a changing market, so they are very conservative in their operations. With sound financial management, they hope to preserve their existing product line, even the smaller-volume products, while finding new ways to grow. Like everyone else in the world, Michael expressed frustration that people often confuse Ilford Photo, the financially healthy black and white film photography company, with Ilford Imaging, the now-bankrupt manufacturer of digital printing paper. They actually got stung by Ilford Imaging, because Ilford Imaging was the source for the emulsion for Ilford Photo's direct positive paper. Now that Imaging is bankrupt, they are not supplying the emulsion. Ilford Photo is trying to purchase the formula, but it has proved to be very expensive to try to work through the Swiss bankruptcy system. At the very least they've learned not to rely on another company for a key component.