To my understanding Kodak has already been dropped from the Dow Jones after some 78 years
Originally Posted by tim
Look--I agree with you, and we've already been doing that. We've been at least partially digital since the late 90s. But the fact is that I work for an agency that sells our work as a service to the general public--AT COST. We also design and fabricate museum exhbits throughout an entire state, and support small museums with no photo services. The labs left in operation are all paid for, and they have teeny-weeny budgets compared to a commercial lab. our budget is like less than 1% of the entire budget, and then they have to look at everything needed to run every other little part of the department. If they're down to scraping pennies in one part of the system and shutting off power and cutting phones to keep from laying off employees, what do you think the chances of getting a half million dollar lightjet are, when you'd need the RA processor and the drum scanner as well?
It's not for lack of trying either. We were all set to get a Fuji Pictro printer back in 2000, and a hurricane came through the state and flooded out almost all of eastern part, and caused a huge amount of damage. They took money out of every nook and cranny of the system, and so went the pictro printer and then $10K at that time earmarked for it.
So it sounds nice and easy to say we've missed the boat and all that, but sorry--you're not standing in my shoes. there are long standing laws that govern preservation through the use of film. there are programs with matching federal grants that require film and paper too. We must provide these services, which were set decades ago, as a service to the public as long as those laws are on the books. It is going to be *no different* on the Federal level. You can call it shortsighted or what have you, but I know we're not alone, and I know we're trying for the best given the circumstances that govern us.
As for the commercial labs-- we send our color and murals out to contract vendors. One uses Frontiers, and they do most of our patron work---this lab is hurting bad now. very slow times. A lab with a lightjet does some of the murals. They have to bid on the jobs. Sometimes they win, but they also lose. low bid wins. as a lab, this is what you have to look forward to. competing for a job that you'll probably lose money on.
No--I don't think the labs with the lightjets are doing very well either, seeing them bid 350 bucks on a 16 foot c-print mural, mounted to sintra and laminated, with the drum scan thrown in for free and no shipping fees. Or seeing a lab from out of state, crate a job and have it weigh 800 pounds and have it shipped overnight for free.
I've been shooting digital at work since 1996, and we've been using inkjets for signage since before that. Our silkscreen shop has all but shut down. The whole way they do exhibit signage and murals has changed in the past decade. But, I *never* thought Kodak would pull out like this. We will become a "small boutique lab" because that's our business I guess, but considering we had a longstanding relationship with kodak and they used to sell materials at over 80% off, it's a tough nut....
I want to do a good job and I hope what I produce will be around after I'm gone. I want it to be useful for future generations, since so much of what I print at work came from others like me who've long since retired or passed away. I'm sure they had similar doubts during their time. It doesn't mean I can't complain about it though. We always say that "it's not about you, it's about the institution"--when it comes to the job. If the powers thatbe decide it no longer has to be film or paper--then so be it--we'll go in whatever direction we have to.
It's not MY decision. As they say, I only work here. What I fear will happen will be that we'll have to use consumer printers and whatever else they can get on low bid contracts. It will not be some fancy piece of equipment. It won't be the latest & greates piece of gear--it will be something we'll have to use until it dies. We'll be using it forever, until we're forced to surplus it and scrape the funds together for another piece of equipment. I see it happen all around me. With buildings, furnishings, vehicles, roads etc. Whatever purchase you make, better be a good one, because it will be years before you get the opportunity to upgrade. In terms of traditional photo materials, this works okay, since so little has really changed in the past 20 yrs or so. In terms of digital, it's pretty depressing. Like the Nikon digital camera we bought for over $7000 in 1996 that was 1.6 megapixels, and we had to use it until the D100 came out. Now we can't even get a D70 because there's no money---and YOU tell me, we're behind, like I'm stupid or lazy? Like I deserve it?
my opinions only/not my employers
"Always The Low Price" Wal-Mart is now a part of
Originally Posted by Mark Layne
the Dow Jones 30 industrials. "Some Times The ... "
is more accurate. Dan
Sorry to hear all that. I was senior imaging specialist at a government archives (and museum) overseeing the whole transition to digital for their iamge collection among other things. Something we started in about 1990 I think it was, working along with the federal Canadian Conservation Institute on standards. We were about one of the first such insitutions in Canada to do that work. It does sound like your instituiton does have some catching up to do. I make a good part of my income as a consultant here now, helping Provincial, city, private and other insitutions, big and small do the same thing. I find the majority of them stuck in the same shoes as you lay out (which, of course means plenty of work for me...!). With a few exceptions, whenever I went to conferences, it seemed most institutions were really reluctant to move forward on any of this and now they find they have to but are stuck between both. I was lucky to work with someone who had a vision for how to do it all and how to do it well. He set up systems 10 years ago that saw the needs for things which are only coming into effect now.
Originally Posted by DKT
The problem with Kodak isn't digital, it isn't P&L it is a "one-size-fits-all" management mentality. The company is to be congratulated on completing the shift to digital. It had to do that to have any future viability. It is too bad that they did not grow some "Micro-nimbleness" in the process.
There is something very wrong with a company that has top-performing media that cannot find a way to shift to a boutique marketing strategy. Polymax holds a unique position in the eyes of many. In my opinion, there is no other paper that holds the depth of the blacks and the brilliant whites. I have spent years trying to fully learn its capabilities. I would gladly pay a premium price for these qualities.
The bottom line for us is that we are seeing the pain of transition from a commodity to a niche market. Niche markets are very viable and profitable for those who bring nimbleness and customer service as their most important product. Kodak has neither and this has been apparent for some time.
The company I worked for had an opportunity to buy Kodak's slide projector business a few years back and declined. I wonder if a consortium could be put together to discuss B&W printing paper. I, for one, would be interested in that discussion.
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I'm going to hold my nose, here, and quote Henry Kissinger:
"A sudden lack of alternatives concentrates the mind marvellously."
I think that's the correct quote. Anyway, I look forward to small, innovative companies taking up the slack. Even if Kodak were to sell thousands of boxes of paper every year, the fine art market is such a drop in the bucket -- I can understand their decision. We're talking global economic scale, here. And I'm afraid us b&w "artistes" just aren't global players. That's OK. Now there is even greater incentive to innovate. That's the beauty of the system - a big one goes down, some little ones come up in its place.
If George E. were alive, he'd shoot himself again.
That is called grain. It is supposed to be there.
Oh man, if it were not for the fact that Kodak, Inc. is truly sick... okay, I get it - reverse irony. Well done.
Originally Posted by Flotsam
I dunno, Ben - today's bean counters are pretty fast on the draw. Do you really think old George would have been around long enough to have done the job himself?
Originally Posted by Flotsam
I apologize, it's just frustrating to me. There's no money for anything anymore. They want things to stay the same--the same services to be offered and nobody wants to pay for them. Nobody wants to look at the cost to keep up. It's like they're drunk on the progress they see in digital imaging--as a way to open doors and all that--without looking at the bottom line.
Originally Posted by tim
I understand where you're coming from, but like I said--it's not for lack of trying. I've tried, my supervisor has tried. It's just the way it is. I'm not ready to throw in the towel. I like the job, and will do what I have to, but it's frustrating and I know I'm not alone.
btw--this might amuse you....it gives me some hope, at any rate, since there's a lifetime of work in the collections. They just hired a full time b/w lab tech, doing nothing but processing and printing b/w film.