What Kodak needs....seriously
(A fictional prediction based on the real events of the resurrection of Gibson USA guitars by Henry Juszkiewicz and David Berryman)
Kodak, one of the world's foremost manufacturers of film and photographic paper and, has enjoyed the respect of photographers for most of its century-long history. Its film and paper have been used by some of the best photographers known, including Ansel Adams, the Richard Avedon, Irving Penn and Yousef Karsh. The company fell from its status as a premier film maker to near bankruptcy in the 2010s but was brought back to solvency and its former respect by new owners, Henry Juszkiewicz and David Berryman. Although best known for its photographic films and papers, by the mid-2010s the company also produced film cameras, lenses, and darkroom equipment.
Turnaround under New Owners
Juszkiewicz, who took over as company chairman, was eminently suitable to reverse the company's fortunes. A long-time Kodak film enthusiast and photographer, he had started selling and showing prints in high school and college. In addition to a film photographer's sensibility and an appreciation for the company's products, Juszkiewicz brought an MBA from Harvard and some tough business experience to bear on Kodak's problems.
Juszkiewicz and Berryman began by firing 30 of Kodak's 250 employees, including all of the company's top management. They then began a series of acquisitions, including the purchase of Kenko, a manufacturer of film cameras and lenses, in 2012; "Impossible" Corporation, makers of instant film, in 2013; Bostick and Sullivan, makers of alternative process products; Jobo Analog, manufacturer of film processing equipment, and Omega, maker of professional quality darkroom equipment, in 2014. They also purchased the rights to the Agfa name and began re-creating classic Agfa film and paper products.
Reissues of classic films and papers played an important role in refreshing the company's reputation. To re-create popular emulsions, such as Azo, the company retooled its factories and did MRI and liquid chromatography on preserved boxes of Azo to study their design. The popularity of these reissues encouraged Kodak to offer a special commemorative line of films (like Super-XX) for its 150th anniversary. In each month of of that year Kodak released a different film and paper. In addition to reviving the classic Kodak emulsions, the partners reestablished the company's chemistry division and expanded its line of products to alternative process products used in carbon printing, platinum printing and even a lines of daguerrotype and wet-plate products.
Since taking over the company the partners have made strong efforts to win back the loyalty of successful photographers. Much of the old Kodak aura could be attributed to famous film photographers, such as Ansel Adams and Edward Weston. The company created a new operation to custom craft and coat special emulsions for artist and photographer celebrities. In addition, Kodak began wooing endorsements from well-known contemporary photographers by providing them with film and paper. Famous photographers who renewed or began endorsing Kodak included Annie Leibovitz, Andreas Gerske, Cindy Sherman, John Sexton. Many other digital photographers have joined the ranks of Kodak film users, such as John Paul Caponigro, David Black, Brian Moose Peterson and Joe Mcnally.