Film Friday: Ed Thompson & Syrian families on film

Last year, professional media photographer Ed Thompson set out on a mission to photograph Syrian families who had moved to the Lebanese border to escape the atrocities of war in their own country. Ed approached Kodak Alaris as he wanted to use its Portra 120 film on his trip. Kodak Alaris were happy to help and as a result we’re delighted to share with you today, some of the images taken on the shoot – which also have been used in a recent feature on the subject for the BBC news in the UK. We also took the time to chat with Ed about his love of film photography and why he specifically wanted to shoot film.

Here’s what he told us:

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When I got into photography it was a pre-digital era, I really got into photography in my 20’s. Now, people forget the magic of photography as it’s so disposable! You know we have the power to stop time?! That’s pretty amazing isn’t it? I’m an odd photojournalist/documentary photographer, I’ve seen things that defy explanation. It has led me to develop a strange agnosticism in an industry filled with atheists.

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Using film now is entirely habitual, I confess, I am an addict. Although I shoot both digital and film on assignments when it comes to my own self-initiated projects I prefer to use film. With my old Bronica in my hand I’m a different photographer: 1 in 3 photographs I take make the wide edit that goes to my photo-agencies and the magazines I freelance for. I wonder how many photographers could say the same?

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This was a personal project that initially came out of a 1st year student at L.C.C wanting to interview me as a noted Alumni. We went to the pub and he mentioned that there were Syrian refugees in Lebanon where he was from. Within three weeks we were there on the ground working on a project together. If you go to the pub anything can happen.

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For this particular photo assignment I wanted to create a powerful and strong portrait series as often in these issues the statistics get so high humanity is unable
to even process the magnitude of its horror. By throwing focus on individual children and their families testimonies, I was creating an important historical document that gave faces to the faceless, voices to the voiceless. And, in my mind it deserves permanence,
hence film.

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There’s also a strange faith in using film in this context. I once travelled to a refugee camp in India for only 2 days with 6 rolls of dead stock film – in a way it was pure insanity – but it worked. Of course I could have just used digital, but I believe in my abilities. I believe in them so strongly I don’t even see it as gambling. The hardest part is getting where ever I need to be, once there it is instinct, like breathing. I’m not aware of the process, it’s now entirely habitual.

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I was delighted with the outcome of the images and although the BBC would have been aware it was photographed on film, it’s really not that important to a news media titan like the BBC – they took the story because the photographs are tragic, current, important and beautiful all at the same time. I shot on Kodak Portra 120 because it gave me the image results I was looking for.

A future of winning together – Ralf Gerbershagen, CEO, Kodak Alaris

This is an exciting week for me as I begin my new responsibilities. I am honored to lead a billion-dollar startup company that has so much growth opportunity. Kodak Alaris’ great customer profile, strong teams, profitable products and solutions, and fresh start make it an incredible company.

To our customers, thank you for trusting Kodak Alaris with your business. Your loyalty means everything to us. It fuels success for both your business and ours, and we look forward to engaging with you more.

For some background about me, my passions include driving long-term growth by way of innovation, empowerment, and accountability. And those passions are behind everything I want to do for Kodak Alaris and our customers to enable success for all.

During the next few months, I will begin travelling to meet with customers, partners, distributors, suppliers, and employees. I welcome your questions and comments, so please write to me at ceo@kodakalaris.com if you would like to connect. I value open and honest communication.

We have much to be proud of during our seven months as Kodak Alaris and, at the same time, much to accomplish. I’m excited about our future of winning together. Thank you for your ongoing support. We are honored to work with you now and for many years to come.

Ralf

The new Kodak Moments HD App for your tablet!

I love my iPad. I find myself using it over my laptop more and more, whether it’s looking up recipes in the kitchen or checking IMDB while watching a movie in the living room. After a look at the statistics, I don’t think I’m alone. By 2015 there will be 82.1 million tablet users in the United States. The average tablet user spends 90 minutes a day on their tablet. 80% of tablet users say it has improved their work/life balance and ummm 35% of people say they have used their tablet in the bathroom!

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It only makes sense that you should be able to make photo books and order prints on your tablet too! Today Kodak Alaris introduces KODAK MOMENTS HD App for your iPad. You can easily create a photo book on your tablet which has a nice big screen, larger than your mobile phone, but still has the power of your laptop, without the bulkiness. Since there is a larger screen, this app is able to take advantage of such features as drag and drop.

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The Kodak Moments HD app has unique features such as Smartfit technology that allows your images to be easily dragged and dropped into simple-to-use templates that automatically format. That way nothing important is lost from your images. You also get KODAK Perfect Touch Enhancement Technology for even better looking pictures.

You can pull your photos from Facebook, Instagram and Flickr. Or from your iPad camera roll. You know what I’m talking about. I have totally seen people on vacation in front of landmarks, holding their tablets up in the air, taking photos.

After you have made your photo book or selected your prints (while lounging on the couch or a lawn chair) you can send your order to a major retailer like Target or Bartell Drugs for pick-up. Or you can have it shipped to your home.

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So go and download the Kodak Moments HD App, try it out and let us know what you think.

Stay tuned for the Android version and new photo products like cards and calendars!

Introducing the Kodak Picture Kiosk Drone

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Have you ever found yourself on a remote mountain top, miles away from civilization, or even enjoying the comfort your own backyard and thought, “I really wish there was a Picture Kiosk here”?

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Kodak Alaris brings you the Kodak Picture Kiosk Drone. Now, with the new Kodak Picture Kiosk Drone, you can print your favorite pictures whenever you want, wherever you want.  It’s simple, just call 1-555- DroneMe to “phone drone”, text DroneMe to 5555 or use the handy Kodak Picture Kiosk Drone mobile app and within minutes our Picture Kiosk Drone will find you wherever you may be.

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Are you too busy to call?  Try our new “Cloud Service”. All you have to do is look up into the sky and when you see one of our yellow Picture Kiosk Drones flying overhead, climb onto the roof of your home, wave your arms frantically, and your prints will be ready in minutes.

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  • High Quality Color Prints that literally, “fall right out of the sky”.
  • Enjoy a cooling breeze while the Picture Kiosk Drone completes your order.
  • Accepts Cash, Credit and PayPal. (Bitcoin and heavy amounts of loose change are no longer accepted).
  • Makes prints from any image storage media, Camera Cards, Bluetooth, WIFI, USB (Please remember to disconnect your USB cable before the Picture Kiosk Drone takes off).
  • Try our new “Hands Free Selfie” feature.  Great for Passport photos too!
  • Coming Soon! The New Under Water Picture Kiosk…

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And remember, “If the Drone is not Yellow, it might not be that Mellow.”

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Note: Do not attempt to ride, avoid, or otherwise annoy the Picture Kiosk Drone.  Be sure to only use the Kodak Picture Kiosk Drone, another Drone may not be the Drone you are looking for.

Wednesday Works: IS&T Archiving Conference and the Importance of Preservation by Joe LaBarca

Technical Blog – By Joe LaBarca – Pixel Preservation International

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IS&T, the Society for Imaging Science and Technology, is an international organization that for nearly 50 years has been dedicated to advancements in the field of imaging. Every year IS&T holds an Archiving Conference where scientists, curators, librarians, government officials and private businesses gather to discuss the most pressing issues related to the digital preservation and stewardship of hardcopy, audio, and video.

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This year’s Archiving Conference will be held May 13-16 at the Arsenal at Potsdamer Platz in Berlin, Germany (home of the Berlin Film Festival) a very appropriate venue for topics of preservation.  One key theme during the conference is the critical need for the protection and preservation of digital image files to professional labs, professional photographers, and consumers. It’s a hugely important and timely topic as there has never been as great a need to focus on preservation of digital photography.

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Last year’s conference was held at the US National Archives and featured several papers that were directly applicable to labs, photographers and consumers on the importance of preserving digital image files. Given the historical and emotional significance of photographic images, the high risk of losing digital files has made it critical to discuss these issues at many different levels.

When we hear the term “digital preservation”, our first thought is often of preserving analog originals (think scanning of film and prints) into digital formats. IS&T and companies like Kodak Alaris, are helping to put a major focus on “born digital” files, i.e., those files originated directly from a digital device.  Clearly, digitally captured photographic images fall into this category.

The idea of creating human readable objects from digital files is very appropriate.  For us that means making prints and photo books. Whether printing at professional labs, including those with on-line fulfillment websites, or even a trip to the store for printing on a kiosk, making prints is easier than ever.  And new Facebook and mobile apps from Kodak Alaris allows for easy print and photo book creation from images stored in social media.

A key point for the long-term preservation of images is to use high quality paper and print media. This includes Kodak Endura papers (look for “Kodak Endura” on the back of the print), Kodak consumer photographic papers and Kodak thermal prints from kiosks (look for “Kodak” on the back of these prints).  This also includes Kodak-recommended materials for photo books, including those using KODAK PROFESSIONAL ENDURA Premier Paper.

A full session of last year’s conference was devoted to film and its ability to create “future proof” storage of digital assets. The idea of “future proof” storage and preservation applies to any physical object having excellent long term keeping properties, and which operates or exists independently of the technology used to create it. This certainly applies to photographic prints as well as film.  A photographic paper like KODAK PROFESSIONAL ENDURA Premier Paper clearly fits the bill and will easily provide long term preservation of digital photographic images for over 200 years when properly stored.

Other interesting topics at the conference session included the continuing high growth rate of digital files and the use of the newer JPEG2000 standard for photographic encoding of digital files.  These are both applicable to our professional and consumer markets and customers.  Clearly the huge growth of digitally captured images comes via the growth of smartphones.  This means that there are ever-more image files for the consumer to manage, share between devices and preserve.  And the larger a digital photo collection gets, the harder this task becomes.  This is true for large institutions and individual consumers alike.  The continued use and support of JPEG2000 (“.jpf” and “.jp2”), as indicated by several papers presented at IS&T last year, implies that older photographic encoding formats like JPEG (“.jpg”) continue on a slow trajectory towards obsolescence.  At some point these vast collections of JPEG image files will need to migrate to a new encoding format or risk being lost forever.  There is no better way to prevent this than by taking those most precious images and making prints.

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For more information about the 2014 Archiving Conference including the preliminary program, and to see abstracts of papers from past conferences, go to: http://www.imaging.org/ist/Conferences/archiving/

 

Spring Break Memories

Did you get away this year for Spring Break? If so, let me start by saying, lucky you! We decided to wait until summertime for a big trip (what were we thinking?!). And the calendar may say Spring, but here in Rochester, NY a glance outside confirms we’re still in winter’s icy grips.

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Winter storm “Vulcan” just last week (when did the meteorologists start naming winter storms, anyway?!)

Fortunately, we were able to take a great beach vacation last summer and I’ve surrounded myself, in the office and at home, with pictures and projects from that trip to keep the memories alive.

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Check out the Sand Box, Glass Photo Block and a variation on the Photo Poster on our Tips & Project Center.

If you, too, are looking for ways to make your vacation last, here are some ideas to get you started.

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Vacation Photo Book: Alongside the photos from your trip, include other memorabilia. Simply scan some of the mementos at the KODAK Picture Kiosk and include with photos from your vacation to create a unique vacation Photo Book. Use ticket stubs, restaurant menus, drink coasters and more!

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For the Foodie:  Sampling the local cuisine can be a highlight of a great vacation. Remember your favorite meals when you create a collage to hang in your kitchen at home.

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Seashell Photo Holder: Don’t let all those seashells you collected during your beach vacation sit forgotten in storage—use them to display your favorite trip pictures.

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Map It: A map of your getaway spot makes an excellent background to showcase your vacation photos.

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Photo Jars: Collect seasonal items, along with a favorite vacation photo, and place them in a pretty glass container for a nice memento.

This is just a start.  Check out theseand other great vacation projects on our Tips & Projects Center.

Why I love film

Today’s blog post comes from Bellamy Hunt, AKA Japan Camera Hunter. Be sure to check out the end of the post for a Film Friday giveaway!

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Why do you love film? This is a question I get asked a lot. Maybe it is because of what I do, but people always seem to want to hear a different answer. But in reality, there is no special answer other than the one that I always have felt. Let me try and explain it to you.

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I can vividly remember my first forays into photography, when I was a very small boy and I had a Kodak Instamatic camera which my mother gave me. I didn’t really have the first idea of what I was doing, but I enjoyed doing it, taking pictures.

As I got older my enjoyment of photography grew. I studied the process at college, I worked professionally in a studio using film, I did events and tons of personal projects using film. Which is what we all did, as there was no other way.

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When digital came on to the scene I thought it was a godsend. I could spend more time taking pictures, and I could edit the ones I didn’t like. But all was not good in happy valley. Whilst I enjoyed the convenience and the speed of using a digital camera, I found the images lacking something…they were too clinical. I also found myself becoming lazy, slipping. I would spray and pray, and continuously chimp to check images. This was not what I had trained to do, I should have been trusting my skills.

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So, I made the decision to switch back to film. It wasn’t a hard decision. I was working for a camera supply company so I was no longer in need of pro digital cameras, as I could rent them if needed. I sold my digital cameras for a pittance compared to what I had paid for them less than 2 years previously. And for that pittance I was able to buy myself a film camera that I had dreamed of owning as a teenager.

For me, film gives me the opportunity to present the world as I see it, with all of the flaws and the mistakes. The world is not a perfect place and I don’t take perfect pictures. I don’t want my images to be razor sharp every single time. With digital I strived for consistency, with film I revel in the inconsistency. Film has also pushed me back into being creative again. I am more thoughtful and aware of how and why I shoot. I mentally prepare projects and compositions in my head, as I don’t want to waste film or opportunities.

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Added to that I am a borderline luddite, with a dash of chemistry geek and a full dose of tactile process nerd. So film photography for me is the logical conclusion of my personality. I love the idea of allowing just the right amount of light to react with chemicals on a strip of plastic to create an image that is indelible. A single frame, frozen in time that will probably be around long after I am gone. Tell that to my hard drives (two of which I have lost in the last two years alone), I still have the negatives from that Kodak Instamatic.

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I mentioned in previous articles too that shooting with film gives me time. Everything in the modern world is so frenetic, it seems to come at you from all directions, a bombardment of information. Running JCH takes up a huge amount of my time (not that I am complaining, I love it). But when I go out and shoot I can disconnect myself from everything for the briefest period and take the time to calm down and enjoy the little things. Watching people, human comedy and the barely contained chaos that is a big city. I have no rush to see my images, no sense of urgency for a result. I don’t need to feel validation by running home and uploading 150 images to Flickr or whatever. This gives me a sense of balance. Getting my negatives back and checking them is something I can do on a quiet evening with a nice cup of tea on standby.

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But it is not just that. It is the look. Sure you can get filters and plugins now so that you can make your digital images look like a certain emulsion, but it is just not the same as the real thing. Because the real thing comes out that way, without having to change anything. And this is not about the megapixels or resolution or whatever. This is about the imperfect nature that is film. The slight uncertainty and the unique minute imperfections that make it such a pleasure to use.

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So why do I love film? Because film is like love itself. It is imperfect, irrational, sometimes frustrating and almost impossible to rationalize, but when it works it feels fantastic and keeps me coming back for more.

My favourite Kodak film? There is a constant, which has been a film I have come back to over and over again, that one is Tri-X. It is so perfectly balanced and easy to use, you just cannot fail with a roll of tri-x. I hope it lives forever.

JCH

http://www.japancamerahunter.com

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Film Friday Giveaway!

To make Film Friday even more fun, JCH has generously offered a selection of his film cases for a giveaway. These cases were designed by JCH after months of development and testing. They are made from a durable and tough plastic that will keep your film safe from the elements including light.

There will be two prize packages… each with

- One black and one white 135 film case

- One black and one white 120 film case

- A selection of Kodak film

To enter just leave a comment on this blog post explaining why you shoot film. We will randomly choose two winners by 2pm EST on Monday, March 17. Be sure to leave your email address in the comments form so we can contact you if you win. It won’t be seen by others. Good luck!