You are correct, and thanks for the comment. I did want to give as much information as possible.
I try to teach my "art" to those who take my classes. I would like to do the following as well.... I could teach system design of negative films and papers, and system design of posiitive systems. I could teach developer design, fixer design and bleach/blix design.
In fact, fix, bleach and blix chemistry is much the least understood amongs the general users of these chemistries.
I could teach stabilzer design and image stability testing. This is another poorly understood area amongst the general analog photography population.
All of these involve "art" that is very esoteric, that the student could then take off on and extrapolate into new areas.
As it is though, without any of my associates interested in doing this type of work and schools not being interested in it, we are in a devolutionary period in analog photo history in which we will probably devolve and normalize at about the 1920s era if we lose Kodak, Ilford and Fuji. And, believe me, times are tough for all 3 of them! As it is, I could go to the Formulary and teach a different workshop each week all summer but that will not be. It is just too stressful and time consuming let alone the fact that there may be no students for many of those courses or that it might strain the resources of the Formulary.
I tried those system design threads here, and on PN, but there was little to no interest. In fact, there was quite a bit of contention from time to time, so I gradually gave up. My associates that have tried that here and elsewhere also found the same thing and advised me to give up.
Does the normalize at about the 1920s apply to both B&W and color technology?
It is obvious that the market for film has been constantly decreasing. I had wondered what would happen if the big players in this market just folded. At what level of expertise, and at what output, would some of the other film producers in places like Eastern Europe and China be positioned to supply a much smaller market?
I have been involved in several discussions on the LF forum on the future of 120, 4X5 and 8X10 film and would really appreciate your expert thoughts on this.
Originally Posted by Photo Engineer
Chromogenic color films will be virtually impossible to recreate if there are none being made. Photos taken with tricolor cameras will work well and color bromoil will be useful in printing as will home-made dye bleach. It is possible to hand coat color dye bleach print materials, but dye bleach films with decent camera speed and with decent properties regarding grain are virtually impossible for technical reasons related to having the dyes present to begin with.
Interesting topic. So the only way to keep the advances that we have . . . is to keep them going? Well, I suppose at some level deep down inside, we all know this, or there wouldn't be an Internet board devoted to analog process. I mean, let's be realistic - most (not all) but a considerable amount of our results or similar ones could be obtained using digital these days. But there is something about analog capture that tugs at me. I don't know if it's the "imperfectness" of the film or the peaceful solitude of a mechanical camera, or what it is. But something makes me want film to be around a long time. Even though, at least for what I do, a high-end digital camera could easily do it.
So...what I'd like to know is, in your estimation, if corporate greed were taken out of the equation and the photographic companies merged together their analog units only, into one corporation that existed to solely make analog supplies (i.e. film, paper, chemistry), could it support itself at the current levels of usage?
Or is the current supply to great for demand, and are we doomed to watch the lines of analog suppliers continue to hemorrhage money until they are all gone? Just curious. I thought things had pretty well stabilized for a bit, and then the economy went to pot. Wonder what effect that will have? Could be good or bad, depending.
When you consider that Kodak gets 1/2 of its sales dollars from film and that about 80% of those dollar sales are for motion picture, it is hard to see what could be done if the cine industry demand for film products decreases due to digital.
When you add to that the fact that Kodak has probably still has more people in analog R&D than work at Ilford in total, that is a lopsided combination. And, when you consider that Kodak is pretty much just coating color paper in their plant at Harrow England this further shows the nature and size of the Kodak analog effort compared to many other companies. In size, Kodak is probably still larger than Fuji as well.
As for corporate greed, IDK what you mean in this context. It is shareholders greed actually. They want money for their shares!
And as far as analog goes, here is an analogy. I can take a car apart and visually see how the parts are put together. I may not know the materials they are made of though, and that is part of the art of the design of an automobile. Assembly may be obscure as well. With a film, by comparison, it is almost impossible to take the film apart without a very sophisticated analytical chemistry lab and even having done so, finding out how things interlock is virtually impossible.
You may know that an emulsion contains a trace of Cadmium and some Iodide, but you don't know how or when they got there in the manufacturing process and that is critical.
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Thanks for that analogy. I think I understand what you mean there...it would be near impossible to recreate some of these products due to the artistic nature of the process.
What I meant by corporate greed (and perhaps that was the wrong term) was the fact that so many nice products seem to get killed off entirely instead of still being around in a lesser quantity that might be viable. For example, the bean counters say a product has to make $X to be around next year...or it gets the axe. What I was wondering was, are so many products being cut because they don't hit a magic number in sales, or is it really so bad that supply is too great for the demand and no one wants those products anymore at all?
Obviously if no one wants to buy (no demand), then the supply must be shut off, or the company goes bankrupt.
I was just curious where we're at on the supply/demand curve. For example, if you took all the analog products together, as if they were produced by one company, and then added up all the income from sales - would that company float? Would it be in the red or the black?
I'm not sure if I'm saying it right...did that make any more sense?
Originally Posted by Photo Engineer
Have you considered writing a 'systems design" book as an follow-up to your book / CD (due out soon)? You know that the moment film becomes obsolete for motion picture purposes, and film's days become numbered (more than they are now), folks will be hounding you night and day for more 'systems design' information than what is discussed here. Perhaps dedicating systems design information to the public domain will allow some enterprising folks to one day start up film production all over again.
Well, Bob, from the response so far, there seems to be little interest and if you had ever tried to do such a project you would realize how much effort it is for the return (if any).
My friends have advised me against it due to the effort vs return and I'm not to excited about it based on the response here on APUG and on PN. After all, with over 30,000 members and only about a dozen or so interested people, doesn't that give you a clue?
Really, some people have told me that if I was about 10 years later, there would be people beating a path to my door, but as it is......
Of course, 10 years from now, there will be no one who knows how to do what I am able to pass on.
Stick with emulsions, pleeeeese!
For up from the ashes, up from the ashes, grow the roses of success!
Both are needed actually, for one to make total sense of the other. They are interlocking fields.
I cannot see how your example relates to corporate greed. If the sharholder wants profit and a product is not profitable, then they put pressure on the company officers to cancel unproductive products. If the officers do not comply, they are replaced. This happened with Azo paper and in fact, all B&W papers when the profitability fell below a certain level or actually became negative.
As a more recent example, Kodak no longer makes their own processing chemicals for B&W and color. In the first place, the new producer has cancelled a variety of color kits. Is that Kodak? I think not. It is the new company seeing the ROI on these small runners and they cannot make a profit with them. As for spinning it off, well Fuji saw the same problem of profit years ago and we have Fuji-Hunt making chemistry kits. This is kind of like Kodak-Champion. Kodak and Fuji have both seen that making the chemistry is giving a lower ROI as time goes on. Fuji saw it years and years ago, but Kodak had a stronger position and held on as long as possible.
So, with Champion, they are dropping products as well, and you cannot blame Kodak for this decision. It is the market and the shareholders of the companies involved.