Everyone who has posted on this subject seems to have a very good "take" on corporate America's latest problem, not just Kodak's. Aside from the facts of life, I will bore you with an observation made during the '70s and '80s.
Originally Posted by Robert
The Hitchcock Chair company was run from a smallish plant in Ct. I hope some of you will remember the Hitchcock line of furniture. It was unique and, IMO, well constructed, designed, and finished (especially the characteristic air-brushed "still lifes" on the back of the chairs.
When I was doing an engineering job for the Navy, I had to pass by the Hitchcock place on my way between the airport at Windsor Lock and Thomaston (a 50 minute drive through some beautiful, hilly country). Finally I had the opportunity to stop and take a "tour".
At the end of the plant there were stacks of lumber, walnut, cherry, mahogany, oak – you get the picture? Workmen were carrying the wood through the double doors to their mill where it was cut and shaped. IOW, it was a complete business with raw material going in one end and finished products out the other. I noticed that the average age of the craftsmen was about 60.
Well, the next year, the wood pile was gone and the year after that the Hitchcock plant was gone. The management saw no reason to train young people before the old guys left, so they “farmed out” work, imported parts and became an icon to corporate America of the ‘80s. I would have loved to have been able to “take over” operation of that place about the time of its degradation. I believe that with proper management, the company could still be in business today.
Also at Thomaston: The Seth Thomas clock plant, which used to manufacture some nice stuff, was importing their products ready-made from (fill-in-the-blank) and placing the Seth Thomas label on them. They used to do it all there in Thomaston – now they are gone.
Get used to it. I’m glad I will not survive the next twenty years as I hate to see my grandchildren living in a place with so much disdain for history and tradition and seeing only the “bottom line”. Long live APUG! Dr bob.
From what I hear, it is not all a bed of roses on the "Digital" front either. It's true that many analog photographers have given up and either sold their traditional equipment to buy digital cameras, or mothballed them.
However, the digital market appers to have peaked some time ago. Sales are definitely down, and the activity overall in both areas of photography is receding all the time.
I think there are two factors involved: A sense of "novelty" with the digital media coupled with the idea of "You don't have to learn anything!" (inseperable with learning is dedication); and the inherent demon of digital photography - the rapid obsolescence of equipment (a la' everything else to do with PCs).
I wonder what the future holds ... I see fewer and fewer serious - dedicated - fascinated (all descriptive of the same character) photographers coming up ... but those who are, are very, very good. There probably will be a number of "lower end", inexpensive digital cameras in use (perceived as throw-aways) by those who are only into photgraphy as a means of memory stimulation .. I don't like the term "snapshots"; and a corps of Fine Art and high level Commercial photographers - do I dare utter the sacriledge - STILL using film, and STILL making high quality "chemically - processed" prints.
Let's see - predictions that seemd good at the time:
Paper (papyrus?) and cloth will obsolete cave walls.
Silverpoint wil obsolete charcoal.
Pastels will obsolete -- I don't know -- something in there, somewhere.
Tempura will obsolete silverpoint and charcoal.
Oils will obsolete tempura.
Acryilics will obsolete oils.
Water based Oils will obsolete conventional oils.
Related - Digital music will replace orchestras ...
I'm just going to set myself on "ignore digital" (well... mostly) and concentrate on images that *I* want to make.
Ed Sukach, FFP.
I seem to remember in the 1980s when I was a traditional portrait studio, shooting and printing only color, that Kodak decided that to hell with pros, they would concentrate their resources on the amateur market. They felt that this was where the growth would be. They left us high and dry at that time along with the unpleasant fact that their color products faded in about two to five years after telling us that color was very stable.
In fact, this could be one of the reasons that they left us. We were constantly bitching that the prints were fading and they thought that going the consumer route that there was less, or no accountability.
Anyway I said goodby to Kodak at that time and I'm more that happy to renew that sentiment today. They have never been able to see which side of their bread the butter was on. Some companies are just too stupid to be in business.
I wish them all the luck in the world in their third world headquaters making digital cameras for the Chinese. Maybe there really is a reason that their boxes are yellow in color. Whoooooops, Sorry, very politically incorrect.
I, too, wonder about the future of American business. Management seems to be dominated by people who have learned to speak a particular language of art (one I've never mastered), but who understand little else. Promotions seem social.
A few years ago, I was between TV jobs, so I worked for a while in the copy center at the local branch of a huge office supply company. The company's stated goal was to be the largest office supply company in the world. While I worked there, the company stock dropped dramatically - about 40% if I remember correctly.
The telephone in the copy center was one of only two in the store that could dial out long distance, so when the regional vice president visited the store, she would come to the copy center to use the telephone. One day, as the stock price was in free fall, she was using the telephone and throwing a fit, yelling at the person on the other end. She slammed the telephone down and turned to me as the closest victim.
She began to yell the kind of vague generalities that managers use, "You've got to shape up, or people will be shipping out around here." Stuff like that.
Being a geezer, not a frightened 18-year old, I turned, gave her my prison stare, and said, "What has you so upset?"
She said, "Haven't you been keeping up with the stock price?" waving her arms above her head and tossing her hair. I actually had, but I doubt any of the other, young associates had. I said, "It's in freefall. I can be stupid sometimes, so explain to me how I have anything to do with the stock price."
She said, "You have to be concerned with profitability, and I don't see enough of that around here."
I said, "Wait a minute. I'm just a goober in the copy center. I don't have anything to do with deciding what products the company sells, I don't decide who we buy those products from, what we pay for them or how much we sell them for. I don't decide where the stores will be located, I don't negotiate the rent for those buildings. I don't decide what salaries will be paid. I don't decide what machines I use here in the copy center or what's paid to lease the machines. I don't even get to decide what clothes I wear when I work here. The only thing I can do is make copies as well and quickly as the equipment will allow and charge the customers the prices that are set by the corporation. Again, how do I have anything to do with profitibility?"
Her jaw dropped. She said nothing and ran out of the copy center. The corporate reaction to the stock price fall was to cut the number of employees. Although the corporation claims to take great pride in customer service, in my store we no longer had enough employees to properly serve the customer and we lost business.
Sorry to go on for so long, but that's my personal experience with modern corporate alleged thinking.
Slightly OT - but if you haven't seen it yet, this is a nice article on real digital:
So, from a demanding user viewpoint there's much more than pixel count. And large silicon is VERY expensive...
Sponsored Ad. (Subscribers to APUG have the option to remove this ad.)
One problem for CEOs is trying to predict future direction of consumer demand. Bill Gates believes images will be totally digital from conception to display - paper including prints on walls will be like cave drawings a thing of the past. Part of that consumer demand is how tolerant we/they will be for image quality. Kodak continues to bet that a snapshot will be acceptable level as part of our mass cultural slide to mediocrity. The media - TV, internet, etc.. - only helps that slide. Our continued espousal of value of a 'fine print' may be futile; or, who knows, it may not?
A totally digital world is mostly hype or wishfull thinking on the part of those in the industry. The internet provides a certain percentage of retail sales, but will never replace bricks and mortar.
I still remember the talk in the late 90s about how everyone would carry around digital books and book readers. Libraries would be a thing of the past, books could be either borrowed or purchased online and downloaded directly to your reader. One little problem though, people actually like to hold a book in their hands, like to see them on the shelf and be able to pull them down when ever they want.
Photography will become a mostly digital industry, but there will always be those who want the feel and experience of using traditional methods. As as been discussed in other articles, there is a resurgence in this country for all kinds of hobbies, activities, creative outlets that require a hands on approach.
As our world becomes more about automation and computers, the more I think people reach out to have an activity that is free from computers and printers and robotics. So I think this s one of the great saving attributes of traditional photography.
If we really care about the medium, then it is our responsibility to foster an interest and appreciation in others and help those who ask questions and are just beginning the journey.
A thought... How many of us wear digital wristwatches?
Originally Posted by Jim68134
There are some that do, but the massive obsolescence of "Anolog" watches never took place ... In spite of all the predicitions ... with absolute certainty ... that it would happen.
Ed Sukach, FFP.
Originally Posted by Jim68134
And let us make it *true* help ... not an opportunity for "pumping ourselves up".
Ed Sukach, FFP.
Used to but the thing took too much thinking. It's even worse with digital dashboards. How can a person drive in one of those video games?
Originally Posted by Ed Sukach