Holly Gordon: My Ode to Kodak or “Owed” to Kodak

My origins are rooted with Kodak. To say that I was born with a Kodak reflex camera around my neck is a hyperbole, but when I was five years old, my father placed a Kodak Reflex camera around my neck, who said, “ Hold it against your belly, look into the viewfinder and when you are ready to take a picture hold your breath and snap.” I walked around with that camera, constantly documenting my world…and sometimes I even had film in it. There was such a thrill of anticipation as my little fingers split the paper wrapper and threaded the film onto the sprocket…what joy!

That camera is a most cherished possession and sits close to me in my office today. It looks so much smaller than it did when I was five.  I wish I could still get film for it – my T-Max just doesn’t fit. But no matter…Kodak is inexorably woven in my being. My dad set up a darkroom in our bathroom. Oh, the aroma of those Kodak chemicals and viewing the contact strips he made was pure magic…and those sensations led me into every darkroom I have worked in! I wish those early photographs survived….but the camera and memories do.

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Years later, in 1991 to be exact, I took a two-week black and white photography course at the Maine Photographic Workshop in Rockport, Maine with Steve Bliss, the now-head of photography, at Savannah School of Art and Design. I created a self-portrait with an assemblage of Kodak film and developing reels. I called it The Kodak Smile….and that was at least 10 years before Kodak saw my Antarctica photographs printed on Kodak Metallic paper and invited me to become a Kodak Professional Partner.

To add to the serendipitous events in my life, during the summer of 2011, I ran into Steve Bliss in Provence where Savannah School of Art and Design has a satellite program. That’s how I discovered he had been made head of the photography department… and to think that 20 years later our paths intersected….like magic!

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Kodak is integrally woven into my creative roots, was instrumental in defining me as an artist and will always be part of me.

The words of T.S Eliot from The Four Quartets sum up, so appropriately, my relationship with Kodak:

“We shall not cease from exploration

And the end of our exploring

Will be to arrive where we started

And know the place for the first time.”

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In my early years of photography my subjects were flowers and butterflies and I searched for perfect specimen. Unconsciously or subconsciously, I composed beyond the flower or butterfly, aiming and focusing on the entire frame because the background had to complement the subject to make the image work.  How I chose to see and compose resonated with others because it was those early butterflies that brought attention from the press and the public.

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As I travel the world Kodak, film fills my camera bag…to the Falkland Islands and Antarctica and to Australia and New Zealand, Europe, South America….

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Wanting to wiggle my way into a newspaper project, I purchased my first digital camera and began shooting with it so I could say I was experienced….but Kodak film, especially T-MAX 100 and TMAX 400 continue to dominate my camera bags.

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I am still running as fast as I can…and so is my slide and film scanner…translating my precious chromes and negs into digital files for printing purposes.  Kodak is ever-present in my heart, viewfinder and printed image.

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Every time I see the Kodak brand, be it in China, France…anywhere…it gets documented…and I smile knowing that all is well with the world of photography because I am not alone. Photographers world-wide still choose to shoot with film.

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Kodak is part of my past, present and future and photography, for me, is the synthesis of my love-affair with life. Thank you, Kodak, for providing me with the means to capture, document, and share my journey.

www.hollygordonphotographer.com

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Socializing Professional Content in the Social World

Immediacy. When we think about ways in which we can help our professional labs and photographer clients drive business in this ever increasingly connected world, we keep coming back to this word. Today’s consumer wants to instantly showcase images, share them with family and friends, and gain immediate reach across their connected world. They still desire “output,” but with the proliferation of smart phones, tablets and social networks, as an industry, we need to broaden our definition of output, starting with soft-copy.

Did anyone cry “heresy?” Giving consumers soft-copy? How will that help drive hard-copy and premium professional output? Simple.  As an industry, we need to meet today’s consumers on their terms. Once we capture the consumers’ interest, we then show them just how much more they can do with the professional content.

It all begins with Socialize – where pro photographers help consumers to satisfy their most basic craving.  Pro photographers can deliver images through Facebook and Twitter, place them into video presentations, or make them accessible on web sites via QR codes. Consumers can then text, email and share via their phone/tablet screen, with family and friends, and push pro content into their connected world.

Having met the need for immediacy and connection with Socialization, we now help the consumers tell their Stories.  Professional photographers excel at helping consumers bring their images to life in something physical and tactile, in the form of high-quality albums, photo books, calendars, cards.  We then follow to complement those story-telling vehicles with high quality heirloom portraits and unique, creative canvas wraps and wall art to the preserve the Memories. Creating a storyline is a much better way for consumers to experience and share their memories.  If a picture is worth a thousand words, what is a high quality portrait album or storybook worth?

Driven by the realization that consumers want to use professional images just as they do their consumer images to enjoy immediate/infinite reach and anytime/anywhere access, we continue to work on our Digital Print Production Software (DP2), to enable professional photographers and labs to meet the consumer where the consumer wants to be met! In version 15, we introduced QR codes and Animoto Slideshow videos – which lets professional labs create visually exciting soft-copy offerings, starting the “Socialization,” component of a complete offering that’s complemented by individual prints and high-quality premium output.

Scan to view a video slideshow demonstration Scan to view a video slideshow demonstration.

Play example videos:

Wedding slideshow ›

Baby slideshow ›

So, from Socialize to Stories to Memories, we can create a logical flow from immediacy to more effective storytelling to the opportunity for display and the security of longevity.  The photographer serves to originate the image, consult and sell across the memory lineup, and champion this message.

Meet consumers where they want to be met.  Lead with the need for immediacy and connection, fast following into the desire for storytelling, and completing the offer with quality portraits that preserve the memory forever.

Josh Moates and Indie Film Lab

Josh Moates, photographer and founder of Indie Film Lab in Montgomery, shares why he got into the film processing game and how a business decision has impacted his art.

I’ve been taking pictures since my mom gave me a 35mm camera for Christmas when I was in high school and for the last 10 years, it’s how I’ve made my living. When I re-discovered film in 2004, it changed the way I thought about photography, and then it changed my business.

A big chunk of my work is weddings, which I love shooting. But in Alabama, I couldn’t charge enough to make shooting film for my clients a truly cost effective option.

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Still, I couldn’t shake my belief that shooting film for an occasion as special as a wedding was important to me and to my clients. We all know the quality of film photos outshines that of digital, and for me, the quality of my composition is better when I’m shooting film.  It stokes my creativity, and not just when shooting happy couples. I have been a 100% Kodak shooter for years because of the new PORTRA line and the classic look of TRI-X.

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When shooting weddings, I use Kodak’s PORTRA color negative films because how easily they scan and how amazing the colors are. The skin tones are truly the best of all the other film brands I have shot. Especially the new Portra 800 – it’s super awesome for lower light situations.  Thank goodness for that film, it has saved me in so many hard to shoot situations.

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And I love, love love TRI-X for black and white; it has the most classic look of any black and white film. When I look at a TRI-X photograph, it almost looks like it has a soul. I keep it loaded in my Leica M6. Not to mention it is the most versatile film ever. It can be shot at pretty much any speed. I mainly push it to 1600, but I have shot it at 3200 with great results.

I enjoy photographing anything that relates to Southern culture and history—landscapes, architecture and people. But my favorite subjects are always people. Trying to capture someone’s personality in a split second and then share that moment is a challenge that keeps me coming back.

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When I look into the faces of my portrait photos done on film, I see an added layer of depth, a layer that enhances and underscores what I’m trying to express.

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The point is I wasn’t going to stop shooting film. Instead, I decided to find a way to make it work for me. So I took a leap, gathered some partners, and we bought our own lab equipment and scanner. Kim Box, my partner in my photography company, came onboard, as did my shooting assistant, Asheley Willet, who is absolutely integral to the process. He has a degree in chemistry from the University of Alabama and is the technical guru who makes everything come out just right.

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The original intent was to just process our own film and let the equipment pay for itself. Once we started, we were really happy with the results and shared some shots on a Facebook film shooters’ group. “Who did your lab work?” kept popping up in response to our posts. When I told those asking that we did, they wanted us to process their film too. The light bulb turned on overhead, and I saw a void in the film-processing market just waiting to be filled.

To process the film, we use Kodak Flexicolor chemistry in our color processors and Duraflo RT in the BW machines. The chemistry has been consistent and very stable and we depend on it to deliver top notch negatives for our clients day in and day out. We figure why not use the best chemistry we can get.

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In response, in 2012, we created Indie Film Lab, and in less than a year, it has grown into one of the largest film-processing labs of its type in the world. We had some growing pains initially, but we’re moving full-steam ahead.

Indie Film Lab is more than a successful start-up company. It began as a business decision, but it has moved far beyond that for me. Now, it is my way to play a part in the film community and in the renaissance of film, and as a huge film fan, that’s just cool.

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Shooting film again has re-awakened my passion for photography, and I suspect it has done the same for many others who started in photography when digital was “king”. I love that now my company is a resource for other artists that shoot film and that we give them a great product. There aren’t many things that give me more satisfaction than doing what I love, on my terms, and being successful doing it.

So I guess the morals of my story if you’re looking for some, are: Don’t be afraid to walk through the doors life opens for you; if you’ve got a great idea, push to make it happen; and never underestimate the value of good partners.

Indie Film Labs road tripped to Vegas and WPPI the 2nd week in March, documenting their adventures with Kodak film. You can see the team’s journey on Instagram, Facebook and on Twitter @IndieFilmLab1

Click here to find more information on Indie Film Lab online.

Introducing Wednesday Works – Laura Quatela

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Welcome to Kodak’s Personalized Imaging “Wednesday Works” Blog!  Every Wednesday, we’ll feature business topics relevant to our customers in the retail, wholesale, and professional photography markets.

Here is an introduction by Laura Quatela….

I have the privilege of managing Personalized Imaging, which is comprised of our Film Capture, Paper & Output Systems, Retail Systems Solutions, and Event Imaging Solutions businesses (together, “PI”).  As many of you know, in August 2012 Kodak announced that it was initiating a sale process for these businesses.  We are moving full-steam through this process, and are confident that PI will be under new ownership by the middle of this year.

In 2012, Personalized Imaging sustained a consistent record of profitability.  We introduced market-leading products and services, entered new partnerships across multiple regions, and renewed agreements with some of the world’s largest retailers and professional labs.  Of course we continue to engage with talented and inspiring professional photographers around the globe, who use Kodak Professional films to create thought-provoking, visually stunning bodies of work.  All of these interactions reflect an ongoing commitment to PI by our customers, suppliers, and partners.

On a personal note, I want to underscore my pride in the ongoing efforts of our PI teams around the world to maintain the high standard of service that is essential to our customers and yours.  We have hundreds of staff members in development, manufacturing, sales, marketing, customer service, technical support, and other core functions.  These experienced, talented, and committed employees are passionate about meeting your needs, and driving a bright future for PI.

We look forward to engaging with you every Wednesday about the issues that impact you and your businesses.  Thanks for reading!

NOTE: This post was up previously but due to problems to the old blog platform we have had to repost it this week.

Photographing Winter

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I think Winter gets the short end of the stick when it comes to photography. It doesn’t seem like we take as many photos in the cold weather as we do in the summer. Even though there are plenty of winter activities and photo ops.

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Whenever we get a significant snowfall I take my camera out.

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I especially like to get photos of my favorite furry subjects.

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This winter I even took some night shots after a big snow storm.

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It was so bright out it almost looks like daytime! I’m so glad I ventured out.

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Living where we do, the cold weather encourages us to participate in winter sports. Snowshoeing…

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Ice skating….

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Also snowboarding, cross country skiing, sledding and snow tubing. I’ve even thought about ice fishing. All these deserve to be captured in photos to be remembered later on.

Here are some good winter photography tips that can help you get the best photos out in the snow.

5 Uncommon Snow Photography Tips That Can Transform Your Winter Scenes.” from Digital Photography School

Snow photos: Five top tips for great shots in the snow.” from Pocket-lint

Snow Photography: Tips to help make sure snow stays white and bright” from Better Photographs.com

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I think my next photo book won’t be of the beach. Time to head to a Kodak Picture Kiosk. Winter photos can make great photo books, cards and collages!

Find a Kiosk Picture Kiosk near you.

Guest blog post: Keith Canham & Large Format Photography

Kodak Professional is in Chicago, IL for the annual Society of Photographic Education conference. You can find Tim Ryugo, our national sales manager for professional film, in our Booth #44. along with Keith Canham, owner of K.B. Canham Cameras. Keith tells us how he partnered with Kodak to deliver large format film to the market.KB Canham 7 X 17 3/4 rear view<br />wood large format field cameraLet me introduce myself: I am Keith Canham, owner of K. B. Canham Cameras, Inc. I have built large format cameras for more than 30 years.  I did not start building camera with the intent of owning a camera business. I just wanted a large format camera. I had been photographing for more than 10 years when I had my first opportunity to use a 4×5 camera. Up until that time I had used medium format. It was love at first sight with the 4×5. Not the camera, but the image made with it. The detail and tonal range -just stunning. The topic of the image was not great. It was an assignment shot for a photography course I was taking at the university, but I was hooked. As they say, the rest is history.

I still do all the design work on the cameras. As the owner of the business, I seem to do some of just about everything else, too. We make the wooden parts in our own shop in Arizona. Most of the metal parts are made by two machine shops, also in Arizona. All of the metal parts are machined from solid billets of 6061 aluminum. My company builds everything from 4×5 to 20×24 and will do special one off cameras as well. But enough of the techy stuff.

KB Canham 20X24 3/4 front view with film holder<br /><br /><br />metal ultra large format cameraThe environment of photography today is very exciting. Digital has changed my customers from a large percentage of commercial photographers to a large percentage of fine arts photographers. People with a discerning eye know that digital does not look like traditional. Both can be beautiful in their own right. The artist needs to decide which method or combination of methods best produces the final work of art.

Four years ago I approached Kodak about selling special order films. I had seen others put together groups to order film from Kodak that was not a standard size listed in the Kodak catalog. They would do this only once. Photographers didn’t know whether there would ever be another order put together or even how they could put together such an order. Kodak is a big company and it can be daunting for an individual to figure out how to place a special order. It is also a significant amount of work for Kodak when every special order is from someone new who doesn’t know how it all works. I wanted to make it easy for photographers to acquire film in sizes not listed in Kodak’s catalog. Kodak agreed. Now if you want one of Kodak’s emulsions in any sheet film size, I can get it for you. There is one footnote here. I should say that I can get any size so long as one of the dimensions is 40 inches or smaller. In fact, right now I have an order placed for 6″x7″ Ektar 100, a size that I have never heard of. Over these four years, the film sales have increased. I can tell you from talking to people I know in the film industry that film sales are strong.

No matter what some people say, film is not dead. In fact, it’s very much alive. People were convinced when photography became possible that painting was doomed. Who would paint a picture when a camera could capture it in seconds? Look around – there are still many artists that paint. Why should we believe that film photography is over?

If you want to learn more about us a K. B. Canham Cameras, Inc. take a look at our web page www.canhamcameras.com or like us on Facebook.

Refresh!

Welcome to the new Kodak 1000 Words Blog. It might still be winter but with spring around the corner we decided it was time for a new look and feel for the blog. A fresh start!4400527448_fb93d47c5c_bWhat won’t be changing are great posts from people here at Kodak talking about photography and all the cool things you can do with your photos.

Are you wondering where all the old posts are? There were seven years worth! We are working on getting them migrated here and hope to have them uploaded at some point. Until then, there will be more changes to come on this blog and we are happy to have you along for the ride.