Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Future of Kodak

Kodak. A word, a brand; something that's been synonymous with photography for over a century.  The Eastman Kodak Company was founded by George Eastman in 1892 and with it's establishment, essentially started an amateur photographer revolution and brought photography to a mass market. 

Kodak has produced and continues to produce amazing photographic emulsions.  The end of 2010 marked the end of an era, when Kodachrome ceased to be processed.  Kodachrome was produced from 1935 to 2009 and was a color film much different from anything that proceeded it.  Kodachrome had dye couplers added during processing, unlike other transparency and color negative films where they were actually incorporated in the emulsion layers.  This was one of the first successfully marketed color films and became so wildly popular that Paul Simon even wrote and recorded a song that peaked at number two in the United States.  It truly was something special and I'm sorry that I never got to shoot with the emulsion. 

Like Kodachrome, Kodak is finding it hard to navigate in the increasingly competitive world of digital photography.  A swift movement arrived and Kodak was caught with their pants down, so to speak.  Their digital cameras have been left behind by the titans of Canon, Nikon and Pentax.  They're also trying their hand at digital printing, but again, they are far from the market leader.  They are now simply keeping the corporation a float and are in serious financial trouble.  The Wall Street Journal  featured an article yesterday about the steep decline of Kodak's bonds.  Here's a link to the article.

It's a sad state of affairs and I hope they can refocus their energies and money on what they do best - film.  The film photography world; correction, the photography world wouldn't be the same without Kodak.  The same could be said about the loss of Polaroid.  While Polaroid is still around, they no longer produce instant film and it's left a gaping hole in hearts and cameras.  Thankfully, Fuji and Impossible Project are trying to fill that void.  Who will fill the void if Kodak leaves?  Let's hope it doesn't come to that and Kodak can some how continue developing great emulsions.  I can't imagine shooting with out Tri-X.  I urge every enthusiast and individual that still shoots film to continue buying Kodak film.  I'm not sure how much it will help, but it surely can't hurt.  I can't imagine photography without Kodak and I hope I don't have to.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

FPP Midwest Meet Up / Mat Marrash Gallery Show

I've referred to a specific podcast that I began listening to in a few of my previous blog posts.  For those of you that don't know, it's called the Film Photography Podcast (FPP).  The podcast was founded in 2009 by Michael Raso and has been going strong ever since.  The podcast has spread to a website, Flickr group, store and an eBay auction site.  In addition, it's become a massive community of film shooters and film lovers around the world. 

In 2011, the FPP community organized a few meet ups.  The first one took place on April 16, in New York City.  A smaller meet up was organized later in the month at Toronto and in June, FPP founder Michael Raso and co-host John Fedele travelled across the pond to London for a UK meet up.  With all of these meet ups taking place, I was a bit jealous that I couldn't join in all of the fun.  The newest co-host of FPP, Mat Marrash, lives in Findlay, Ohio.  He had mentioned on the show that he was going to have his first gallery exhibit in July and I immediately planned on attending; especially since Findlay is only an hour an a half away from Troy.  I was absolutely elated when I found out that in conjunction with the gallery opening, an official FPP meet-up was being planned.  It was going to be attended by founder Michael Raso, FPP video man Joey, FPP Deputy Dan Domme, FPP frequent guest Lauren Bagley and of course, FPP co-host Mat Marrash.  So, I took the day off from work and headed to Findlay the morning of July 15.

I arrived shortly before 11 a.m. and was greeted by Lauren and her dog, Strudel.  After the rest of the attendees arrived, Michael taped a short beginning segment and we took off on a photo walk of downtown Findlay.  The first stop was Leslie Lazenby Hunsberger's Imagine That! store.  Leslie is a photographic technologist, specializing in photo restoration.  On top of that, she has an amazing collection of cameras and has a wealth of knowledge on all things photography and film.  It wouldn't be hard to waste hours talking to her about film stock, film cameras, techniques, etc.  She's also an astounding artist herself, which I found out after viewing a few of her Polaroid manipulations.  She was very friendly and welcomed us with opened arms and even treated us to a "grab box" of expired Kodak and Polaroid films.  I grabbed an expired pack of Polaroid 108 film and can't wait to see what type of results I get.  After Leslie's store, we stopped into The Baker's Cafe for a coffee break.  I got to chat with a few other FPPer's who attended; Dave Mihaly from Columbus, OH and Tom Schaefer and Chris Fecio of Buffalo, NY.  After our coffee break, we continued walking through downtown Findlay, shooting the new Kodak Portra that Kodak provided FPP with.  I shot Portra 400 with my Canon AE-1P with my 28mm wide angle lens.  Unfortunately, I had a small rewind issue and some of my film was exposed to the light, which produced a bit of fogging on some of the roll.  Other than that, I enjoyed the roll and if I have something I'm happy with, I'll display it in a subsequent post. 

After our walk of Findlay, we headed back to the Findlay Inn and Conference Center for pizza and Polaroid fun.  We had a few hours before Mat's gallery show, so I headed back downtown and shot a roll of medium format with my Hasselblad 500 c/m.  This was just the second roll I've run through this camera.  After I get the results back from the lab, I'll post a few images and give my overall impression of the 500 c/m thus far.  After my second round of shooting, I headed to Mat's gallery show.  He had a number of amazing portraits that he shot all on film.  He used a Hasselblad 500c and his Eastman Commercial 8x10 large format camera.  His work is absolutely stunning and will continue to be on display at the Lea Gallery until mid August.  I highly recommend checking it out.  Additionally, we also ventured upstairs to view Lauren Bagley's paintings, prints and illustrations.  They were also amazing and it's highly likely you'll see her illustrations gracing a children's book very soon.  After the exhibit, we headed to The George, a great book/coffee shop for a night cap.

Overall, the meet up was a great time.  Everyone was friendly and just as enthusiastic about film as I am, if not more so.  The FPP community is filled with a great group of individuals, and it's astounding that all of these individuals, some that have never met before, can get together, hang out, take photographs and generally enjoy each other's company.  It doesn't matter the skill level or the type of camera that you shoot; we all love film and we all love photography and that allows us to form a bond regardless of where we're from, where we live and what we do for a living.  Ideas are formed, tips are traded and work is exchanged and viewed.  This community is helping take artistic photography to a whole new level, while keeping film alive.  This is what a photographic community should be; I'm grateful that I'm part of something like this.  The Film Photography Podcast has helped me grow as a photographer and has helped inspire me throughout 2011.  I feel as if FPP has the potential to spur a further renewed interest in traditional film photography and I look forward to what the FPP future has to offer.  For those interested, I highly recommend checking out the podcast and all of the amazing work produced by the FPP community.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Solo Show Announced!

So, here is the big announcement that I was eluding to in my last few posts.  My first solo exhibit / gallery show will be taking place next month!  I finalized the details in January, but I didn't want to publicize it until the date was fast approaching.

At the beginning of the year, I posted a few photo resolutions.  One of those resolutions was to create my best work yet.  Well, in preparing for this show, I can tell you that I think I have achieved that goal and I'm only half way through the year.  I'm still not where I want to be and I know that I have so much to learn and I have more room for growth.  This show is not an ending point; it's merely the beginning of my photographic journeys.  There are so many things I want to photograph that I haven't, so many projects that I want to create, so many cameras and film that I want to experiment with and processes that I want to try.  This is why the theme for my show is "An Introduction."  It's a way of introducing myself as a photographer to all of you and the general public.  It's meant to show you how I view the world; it's my story, created by my eyes and my cameras.  This show is also meant to display my progression as a photographer and an artist.  My early point and shoot work is how I started; my DSLR work displays my progression and film is where I'm at now.

So, without further ado, here are the details of the show:

Dates:  The show is being hung on Monday, August 1 and will be on display from Tuesday, August 2 - Wednesday, August 31.
Location:  Amos Memorial Public Library, 230 E. North Street, Sidney, OH 45365

Opening Reception:
Thursday, August 4, 2011
6-8 p.m.
Amos Memorial Public Library, 230 E. North Street, Sidney, OH 45365
Light refreshments will be served.

Some of the images that are featured on this blog will be on display, but I have a few pieces that I'm "unveiling" at the event, including a few that I hinted at from my Mansfield Reformatory shoot.  So, feel free to drop by, check out my work, chat and enjoy some food.  I hope to see you all there!