Thom Hogan on Kodak

Discussion in 'Industry News' started by RattyMouse, Mar 2, 2012.

  1. RattyMouse

    RattyMouse Subscriber

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    The most recent essay by Thom Hogan covers Kodak and the future of film. Worth a read if you have not seen it.

    www.bythom.com
     
  2. wotalegend

    wotalegend Member

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    Rather gloomy and negative (no pun intended) in outlook towards the future of film. Expert though he is, it's only opinion, not hard fact. I believe that Thom Hogan went fully digital in his own photography some years ago, so he would likely have both feet planted firmly in the "film is dead" camp.
     
  3. MDR

    MDR Member

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    Sorry but this article is very biased in my opinion and it seems to me that Thom Hogan is Nikon's Voice in the Net and Nikon is pretty much a digital company these days. Though he does have some points, unfortunately.

    Dominik
     
  4. F/1.4

    F/1.4 Member

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    As great as the (film) products may be, bottom line is, and always has been..Kodak is a bad company.
     
  5. MDR

    MDR Member

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    Why is kodak a bad company it does have bad managers but as a company I don't think they are bad, even though they have finacial problems they still sponsor Student Filmmakers and give discounts to indie productions, they've helped the GEH and did many a good deed. Some of them tax deductible but still I don't think that Kodak is an amoral company at least compared to other companies.

    Dominik
     
  6. RattyMouse

    RattyMouse Subscriber

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    Hogan is NOT Nikon's voice. That view is wrong. Hogan rips Nikon all the time. He is a Nikon fan yes, but voice? Not even close.
     
  7. RattyMouse

    RattyMouse Subscriber

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    Actually, Thom Hogan thinks that film will survive, just like vinyl records (like the audiophile niche). That is very unlike the film is dead group who think that film has no chance at all for survival.
     
  8. CGW

    CGW Member

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    No news here. Just a firm grasp of the obvious. Thom also needs a site makeover--badly.
     
  9. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    No mention of Harman in that article. It is as if Kodak will certainly fail and cease production of film and that will leave Fuji who will continue a while longer but the future even there is uncertain and he may be right. However in the B&W game Harman remains a major player and I am surprised that he makes no mention of it despite the U.S. ,where he is based, furnishing Harman with its major single market.

    pentaxuser
     
  10. RattyMouse

    RattyMouse Subscriber

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    http://www.sansmirror.com/
     
  11. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Even back when I started at EK, it was perceived by the general public as the big bad giant. Yes, in the 60s and 70s and even later, Kodak was a big corporation and we were asked to tread very gently with other companies and to be extremely ethical dealing with people to help mute this perception.

    PE
     
  12. mrred

    mrred Subscriber

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    This ranks right up there with "I didn't know you could get film for that" ignorance. Sure the big picture changed with the movie industry, but it is not going to change much of my ability to purchase film. Kodak was never the only fish in the sea.

    I've actually tried their inkjet paper, although a little thin, makes a nice gloss.
     
  13. clayne

    clayne Member

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    From his own site:

    "One thing the digital revolution did is give us back our darkrooms (Photoshop, et.al.). It also let us (kind of) design our own film. A US$999 DSLR coupled with some good software and a monitor calibrator and a US$500 printer gives you full control over everything from capture to final 13x19" print. FULL control. As in "if it ain't right in the print you did something wrong." As some of you may surmise, I'm a closet control freak. Give me the power to do my own thing and I do. So I jumped on digital as far back as the early 1990's, starting with scanners and printers, but eventually opting to go 100% digital. I've put my time into the wet darkroom of the film days. I've processed just about everything except Kodachrome, and printed everything. Let me tell you, digital is ultimately not only easier, but gives you a finer degree of repeatable control."

    So why would I listen to this guy?
     
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  15. CGW

    CGW Member

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    It's a matter of choice. I'm guessing the probable narrowing of choice and a sense of powerlessness are what have been stressing us all out in these threads recently. Tell me I'm wrong?
     
  16. clayne

    clayne Member

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    You're not wrong - and I believe it's one of the reasons a lot of analog people actively detest newer digital technology. Their choice is being taken away and being placed into the hands of the manufacturers, their sensor designs, etc. Sure, Kodak, Ilford, Fuji, Agfa, etc. films have a certain look for each one, but the user of them still had inherent flexibility in each both on the exposure and development side. Analog people, typically being DIY in nature, love this! I love it! I'd hate for the organic nature of these materials to be reduced down to an inflexible formula.

    That's the issue. The inherent "life" within analog materials and how we work with them.
     
  17. Aristophanes

    Aristophanes Member

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    Hold on.

    "You press the button, we do the rest", Kodak circa. the dawn of consumer photography.

    ...and your quote of "...choice is being taken away and being placed into the hands of the manufacturers",

    ...are contradictory to the entire business history of film photography. You have always entrusted your ability to capture and display images in the hands of commercial interests.

    Nothing has changed. Nor the personal attachment to cultural processes, which Kodak and all the others build into their economic profiles of the market.

    The only ones to blame are your fellow photographers who have gone digital for reasons mostly of cost, but also of convenience. There are, quite frankly, not "a lot of analog people" left. For a decade people, pros and vernacular, had film and digital side-by-side on the shelves and the choice was made in a long, drawn out market play.

    That's the issue.

    Whether or not you make it an emotional issue is your personal choice. But one cannot blame the film industry entirely for the failure to maintain analog market share and the corresponding decline of choice, even f the last choice is digital These. companies poured billions of $'s of capital into film photography and in the case of Kodak, Agfa, and others, their shareholders were wiped out by disruptive technology.

    You are generalizing about the DIY perspective as that has always only ever applied to a very small fraction of the overall film market. Unless you make your own emulsions, you have always been playing in someone else's commercially kept walled garden. Photography is more like this almost any other industry, even autos. Photoshop is DIY for many people in exactly the same way a home darkroom is, and the whole DIY experience for either film or digital is based on industrial machines or their software equivalent churned out by large corporate entities. They make, you buy. If not enough of you buy product x, it's over.
     
  18. clayne

    clayne Member

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    Bullshit, the manufacturers of modern digital cameras are well in on and okay with all of this. They absolutely love this arrangement of continual release/obsolete/buy-again.

    So yes, I can blame my "fellow" photographers (they're not really my fellows), for enabling that bad cycle to continue, and I can also blame the consumers of photography who don't give a damn one way or another (but who will invariably notice something missing given enough time).

    I'm talking, right now, analog right now, with experienced printers and lab people - NOT generic consumers. Dude this is APUG, not johnny-consumer-find-me-a-lab-for-my-kodak-gold.com. The entire site is dedicated to the process, materials, and DIY attitude. Get that through your head. You're preaching to the absolutely wrong audience.
     
  19. eddie

    eddie Subscriber

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    For the vast majority of people, photography isn't that important beyond documenting their lives. I know many who (when film was the only option) had a P and S 35mm. Often, it would take a year to complete a roll of film. A few shots at a June graduation... a few of their summer vacation... a few of Grandma at Christmas... For them digital makes sense.
    For a few, though, photography is an art form... a means of expression... For those in this category, film/darkroom is a tactile event, and the process matters. Their commitment to create a silver gelatin print/alternative print/projection transparency has more to do with the hand-crafted nature of the finished product than anything they can do on a computer. Ease is not part of the equation.
    I'd like to think APUG consists of the latter.
     
  20. CGW

    CGW Member

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    APUG.ORG is an international community of like minded individuals devoted to traditional (non-digital) photographic processes. We are an active photographic community; our forums contain a highly detailed archive of traditional and historic photographic processes. We'd like to thank all of the photographers out there who have given us the encouragement to see this concept through.

    Enough of the splenetic rant. Don't see much reference here to the survivalist bona fides you seem to think are necessary for participation. Lots of different ways to "do" analog outside of DIY. Been doing this just long enough to recall there being no shortage of aspirational "upgrade-itis" pitched at film shooters frightened about dying in their sleep not owning the latest from Nikon or Canon.
     
  21. PKM-25

    PKM-25 Member

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    I'm not stressed, I read these threads not so much for information as much as watch-this-train-wreck entertainment.

    The better, less obscure products are often the most used therefore purchased. So to avoid stress, one only needs to prepare for what the worst case scenario could be in regards to product longevity...per product. Most of the more talented shooters of analog product I know keep it simple, they don't dabble in everything then piss and moan when one out of over 100 films gets nixed. Instead, they invest a few grand into product and supporting product and move onto to more important things like shooting, printing, marketing, networking.

    Changes in the larger scheme of analog products have set a lot of us into motion in terms of making decisions as to what the most important products are for our needs. If one of these products is prone to be on the chopping block, we simply either replace it with another product or stock up, no big deal and certainly no stress....

    So you can either keep typing the keyboard in a manner that would make a jazz organist gasp or get on with using the products we have and make some fine images happen.

    I've made my choice, obviously you have too...:munch:
     
  22. Aristophanes

    Aristophanes Member

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    Built-in obsolescence was as much a part of film photography as digital. How many orphaned formats are there for film? How many crappy P&S's were made for 135? 110? APS? Orphaned lens mounts? The list goes on. Kodak and Fuji ruthlessly changed box designs to make consumers believe the formula had changed, when, in reality, no chemistry changes ever took place. They liked to make customers feel that the new box was better than the old. It's a for of marketing obsolescence,preying on consumer insecurity.

    Nothing has changed there.

    People left analog for the cost and convenience of digital. The whole point of economics and consumer decision-makig is to make the most out of scarce resources.

    Nothing has changed there.

    Experienced printers and lab people were the first to leave because of the same economic principle I just spoke to above. The ones most qualified to judge quality in a commercial setting left for digital faster than the hobby crowd which is mostly what APUG is. This includes the vast majority of the glossy art set and the mass printers, like magazines and advertising.

    The generic consumer is, and has always been, the mass market necessary to justify the mass production of roll and cartridge film. In order for there to be a top-tier of "experienced printers and lab people" everyone has to start somewhere lower on the ladder, usually working in a lab cranking out Brownie films all the way up to mini-labs, and the teeny, tiny home development market surviving on the economically viable remains. George Eastman got that. There is no yin without the yang. The few who love analog photography as an art form have always relied on the mass market to subsidize production. Vernacular photography gave you your roll and cartridge film market. Silver printing was the basis of Eastman's "we do the rest". This is THE business case study of Kodak and film photography overall. It is the core of the business model and the ONLY one that has ever existed.

    Nothing has changed there.

    If you're going to defend the legacy of his original invention, at least try and understand the economic principles supporting it.
     
  23. clayne

    clayne Member

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    The problem is you're entirely all about economics, and the majority of people here are NOT about the economics of photography.

    For Christ sakes man, you're on The Analog Photography Users Group. Have you figured that out yet? Everything about this forum is focused on quality, not quantity. Again, again, again, APUG is not about the mass market consumer. You keep equating everything with that because you cannot break out of our own obsession with economics and how that relates to film photography.

    We've heard you, countless times now, people are not absolutely disagreeing with every single one of your points about economics - they're just tired of hearing about it and focus on other aspects of why analog photography is a powerful and meaningful form of expression.

    You can't keep your head out of the numbers though.
     
  24. TexasLangGenius

    TexasLangGenius Member

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    I shoot half film and half digital. I use digital for reference photographs that I use when I want to draw something by hand later and film for memories that count.

    Why do I continue to use film? One word: archivability. I was thrilled when my family found and scanned film from my great-grandparents with pictures that hadn't been seen in more than 70 years. I felt connected to the past in a very tangible way. Digital is a very shaky archival medium right now, and with most generic consumers taking digital photos, not thinking about it and then accidentally deleting them and not constantly migrating them, who knows what's going to happen to their digital photos within 70 years?

    I love taking pictures with film. Every time I hold a strip of negatives or cardboard slides, I feel a connection with what I photographed and I feel like those photographs are a labor of love.

    Is digital convenient? Yes it is, but now people expect everything yesterday. It's a pain in the butt to try to shoot film at family gatherings or on trips with colleagues, because they don't have the patience to pose and wait for me to manually focus and get the exposure ready, and I feel that people have lost the virtue of patience. My aunt told me very coldly at a family gathering that film just needs to disappear, and others have told me that this is the 21st century and I need to adapt or get left behind. I'm not a Luddite, but I see digital as just another tool in the photographic toolbox, and not the best thing since sliced bread and the end-all/be-all of technological advancement. Cost doesn't matter to me, since I run a budget every month for film. I shoot wisely with film. As my dad likes to tell me: "You get what you pay for."

    Is digital artistic? Yes, it is. Photoshop can do some wild things with photographs that analog can't match, and I'm learning how to digitally paint on my iPad. Those who say digital isn't and can't be artistic are deluding themselves. I want to learn how to use Photoshop and Lightroom (whenever I can afford them), but I don't like being forced into using just one medium. I constantly back up my best digital photos.

    If film were to totally disappear like my aunt wished that Christmas day a couple of years ago, I wouldn't stop taking photos, but I wouldn't do it as often as I do now. It would take all the fun out of it...
     
  25. Aristophanes

    Aristophanes Member

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    For God's sake man, Thom Hogan is the source of this thread's info and he has a long treatise on the financial situation of film photography, most of it related to the "size of ponds" argument, which is 100% an economic allegory!

    That's the OP.

    You're in the wrong thread, not me in the wrong forum. That should be obvious.
     
  26. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    I get a giggle that guys like Thom need ever more "technologically sophisticated" digital cameras to photograph with.
    Strange. The most beautiful photographic works I have seen have been created with Wistas, Linhofs and the big guns of medium format, Hasselblad, Pentax, Bronica. Clearly he has a blinkered view of what photography is about, and that applies to all those sucking up to the next best/greatest/technologically advanced thing to achieve what the wiser amongst us have been turning out for decades.

    Aristophanes, do you ever get out and photograph, use a camera? You are very, veery negatively geared on your discussion of film. I don't think we want to hear about what an economist thinks of film. It's what photographers can do with it that matters. Now please get up, go out and photograph, then come back and talk about that.