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The loss of Kodak slide emulsions - are we really allowing this?

Part of the fun of doing analogue photography has to do with finding your favourite films and exploring all the possibilities that each one of them offers. Losing a considerable part of the diversity of films available on the market today is like losing part of the letters of an alphabet and then trying to write a novel with the remaining ones. Are we just gonna seat back and watch while they take away our tools of creativity?

Photo by anafaro

I was disheartened when I first heard of the decision of Kodak to stop all the production of slide films. For the longest time I thought that this could not be really true and for sure some one over at LSI would realise that we could not allow this… Maybe I’ve been hiding under some rock all this time but only today I learned that we are also loosing the Lomography X-Pro Chrome. I mean, seriously?? Are you kidding me? Apparently the reason behind this was the fact that Kodak were the ones producing this film. So, I got the shock of my life: we are loosing all Kodak slide emulsions FOR REAL! Are we really gonna allow this? Is LSI really not doing anything about this?

We see here in the website the brand launching camera after camera after camera in the hopes of seducing some new comers to the brand… That is definitely a legitimate marketing strategy, but they have to realise that they also have to cater to those people who are already faithful to the brand, have already their cameras and want to keep using them and buying their products. I wont buy more cameras if I can only have one type of film to use!
Part of the fun of doing analogue photography has to do with experimenting with loads of different films and getting loads of different colour palettes in your photos. Right now it seems we will be stuck with Lomography slide films and Fuji Slide films, which are predominantly yellow and green when cross processed. We will keep on having the Rollei Cross Bird film (for how long?) which has a slightly different colour palette, but no of these get no where near the Kodak emulsions when it comes to red and blue colours. So think very seriously about this: loosing these emulsions means you will loose all these tonalities from all cross processed film. It means that all xpro photos from different Lomographers will look more and more alike. Your individual decision of highlighting blues by using a certain type of film under a certain condition will simple be lost. Think about this.
Should we start down a petition to LSI on this matter. I mean, the Impossible Project singlehandedly saved Polaroids all together. Can’t we save Kodak Slide emulsions?

written by anafaro

53 comments

  1. dollymixture

    dollymixture

    I will sign a petition and whatever else it takes to save Kodak Slide Emulsions!! It wasn't long after I discovered Kodak Elitechrome EBX (my favourite film so far) that I read the news of it all being discontinued, devastated.
    With you all the way!
    Dolly.

    about 2 years ago · report as spam
  2. nuhdos

    nuhdos

    Kodak is behind Lomography x-pro chrome? :OO

    I won't buy more lomography or not cameras if all the film dissapears, it has no sense... So if there is a petition, I'm in!

    about 2 years ago · report as spam
  3. saidseni

    saidseni

    Just got my first Kodak Ektachrome 100 G (shot with my LC-A) and it is amazing!! I'll sign the petition for sure! And I agree with everything you said, everything will look more alike...

    about 2 years ago · report as spam
  4. oliviermenard

    oliviermenard

    Aerochrome died!! Agfa Died !! Scala 200 died!! And Kodak Company will pobably die too!! Power is in Wall Steet and The City. Digital photo overhelms the world. With Lomography thousands of people went back to film photography. OK for a petition !!! But I mean Kodak doesn't care !! Or perhaps it has to be done like Polaroid and The Impossible Project: buying the film production business

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  5. metaluna

    metaluna

    I would join this fight, in the mean time, I'm going to buy as much kodak slide film as I can.

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  6. gionnired

    gionnired

    Lomography should buy the production process of Kodak slide film!!

    about 2 years ago · report as spam
  7. yokekei

    yokekei

    SUPPORT~!!!

    about 2 years ago · report as spam
  8. anafaro

    anafaro

    @metaluna, @yokekei, @gionnired, @ oliviermenard, @saidseni, @nuhdos, @dollymixture: Thank you for your comments and your support! I will write down something soon and will let you know where to go to sign up. I agree with you, oliviermenard... I don't have great hopes, but still wanna voice my dissatisfaction with the whole thing. It just is unbearable to see so many good things go away. The way to try to save slide film is to shoot slide film. That is basically what we are doing anyways! I'll make sure I'm doing my share :)

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  9. adash

    adash

    Make a petition and I will sign it. I've contacted Kodak customer support already, expressing my disappointment with them, but got an answer not different from the press release. Maybe an independent vendor can save the film emulsions we all adore!

    about 2 years ago · report as spam
  10. jennysparkle

    jennysparkle

    I Love XPro! It makes me have a very sad face! x

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  11. dollymixture

    dollymixture

    @anafaro I don't know if your aware, but there is a Facebook group called "Give us back our E6!" it has about 104 members, might be worth mentioning a petition over there too. I'll see if I can find any other online groups as well, the more people we have to sign it the better : )

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  12. dollymixture

    dollymixture

    I've posted a message up there, it seems to be getting some good interest already. I'm also posting in some busy Kodak groups on Flickr just to let people know that we're thinking of doing the petition and that I'll pass on any details etc etc.

    about 2 years ago · report as spam
  13. redtulip

    redtulip

    @anafaro, thanks for the initiative. I completely agree with all the points you brought up and will sign the petition happily with the hope it changes something! Lomography will not be the same without the Kodak films. And the LSI should really get this message!!! There is no point of having different sorts of cameras if then one does not have the possibility to explore different effects from the films... This "game" has two important players - camera + film!! If it is all about profit, why just not increase the price of the films a few more euros. I would mind paying more if I can actually get the films.

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  14. mikahsupageek

    mikahsupageek

    Hello everyone, I'm glad to see people mobilizing (virtually nonetheless) with concerns about different films disappearing. I've been working for Kodak for a few weeks now. And I've had long discussions with my boss concerning these matters. Unfortunately, things aren't as simple as we could think they are. For many reasons Kodak stopped producing films, years went by, and different sort of films disappeared (aerochrome, kodachrome, and recently all slide films). I don't believe I have all the answers you all might be expecting, but I'll at least tell you, what I've come to understand and know. As you all know, a few months back, Kodak nearly announced bankruptcy (sales going down, bad marketing planning, bad investments, they've been in trial with big companies that owe them loads of money for years and years and are still struggling to win their many battles). Kodak started of as a little American company, but was the pioneer in many different fields in the world of photography (image capturing in both analog and digital worlds, photo paper, films...) But being a small American company they were quickly overwhelmed by huge Asian companies and lost a lot of money (I won't be going too much into the details). This is the first reason to why Kodak had to take some hard decisions affecting a lot of people from the analog world.

    Secondly, the impact that Digital had over the Analog industry is just humongous. Yes nowadays, we can say, that most photographers are coming back or still shoot analog. But you guys need to see the bigger picture. When digital hit the photography world, consider that 90% of photographers (professional and standard photo consumers) around the world went digital for many reasons (which I won't debate on, cause I'm already afraid of boring you with this long post).

    Sad but true, film sales dropped down simply because film demand went down as well. This is no secret, we all know this. We are all affected by the digital era that hit us strong a couple decades back.

    What you now must understand, is how film production works. Before digital hit, everybody used films. And realize that this doesn't only apply to photography but also cinematography. Yes, 75% percent of film production was destined to the movie industry. Therefore, Kodak had to invent machines capable of producing enormous amounts of film. I'm talking of thousand of KILOMETERS of film per day of production. Sufficient enough to withstand every photographers and movie productions needs.

    These machines, nowadays are old, most probably need a lot of maintenance (parts are hard to come by, simply cause they are no longer built). And are simply to big for today's demand.
    Like I said, a single machine, can produce at least one thousand kilometers of film per day. A thousand kilometer of film with today's film demand, would most probably be sold over one year long. Thus, unprofitable for Kodak, because film production is costly, especially when it comes to color and even more with slide films.

    Now there are different ways to finding solutions. On different perspectives. Either Kodak decide to built a whole new machine with a diminished film production capacity, sufficient for today's demand (this I think is most unlikely to happen), or another company such as Lomography decide on investing in the construction of such a machine, partnered hand in hand with Kodak. But you must all realize that it is a big investment and a lot of money to spend.

    Now I fully agree with the fact, that if Lomography plan on launching more and more cameras, they should also do something about the film demand.

    I'd participate in a petition, but I wanted to clear things a bit for everyone. So we don't petition for wrong things, and have our demands unanswered.

    I believe that things should be properly done, if we want to make a difference.

    I hope this helps a bit, and thank you all for taking the time on reading my post!

    Analog NEVER Die !!!

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  15. guinastrapazi

    guinastrapazi

    (my mouth wide open, feel shocked)
    start a demonstration. i'm in!

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  16. grazie

    grazie

    I haven't read every comment yet on this but thanks, thanks, thanks @anafaro for this initiative. I love Kodak films( slides, CN, bw) and the news of Kodak stopping slide film production is just so saddening. I agree that LSI should put oa hold on producing more and more cameras or putting their efforts and money for new camera designs like the La Sardina and they MUST focus on films! Not just the ORCA films that they seem to be focused at right now but more 35mm and 120 emulsions please.

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  17. sweetyyydreams

    sweetyyydreams

    I'll sign a petition too, I totally agree with all of you. It's great that Lomography launches more and more cameras, but it'd be greater if they can save the film variety too.

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  18. grazie

    grazie

    ** I meant to say put their efforts and money on films......not more La sardina designs

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  19. sebastianerras

    sebastianerras

    Just get a bigger fridge and stock up ;-)!!!

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  20. liquorice

    liquorice

    I'll gladly sign the petition!
    @mikahsupageek, thank you so much for answering some questions and opne our eyes (:

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  21. sibu_sen

    sibu_sen

    I will obviously support the petition, I just hope somebody out there is passionate enough to lead the way!

    New machines seems the way to go reading @mikahsupageek's informative post.

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  22. feelux

    feelux

    Count me in! @anafaro

    Yeah, new machines that are able to cope up with today's demands. Thanks for the info, @mikahsupageek!

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  23. laurasulilly

    laurasulilly

    Thanks @mikahsupageek for your very informative post. So it will all come down to getting the machines and the recipe, because I doubt that Kodak will continue the production from all I have read so far. However, given the way LSI has worked in the past, I doubt (although I do hope I'm wrong) that they have the will to take over Kodak film production the way Impossible Project did, given that it's an immense financial risk. Moreover -many might not like that- but as a company (mind you: not as a community, nor as individual lsi employees or community members)- LSI seems to be more interested in throwing as many cheaply produced but expensively sold cameras as they possibly can on the market until that segment dries out and they turn towards sth else- at least that's my impression from their latest release which is using a film that is actually slowly dying out, but still, they (lsi) don't seem to be willing to actually guarantee the continuous production of 110 film instead of buying up old stocks and repackaging them. So I think it wouldn't make sense to petition Kodak, but to petition LSI as a community and as their customers because keeping as many films alive as possible is important in order for them to keep their profits high and stable...and this might require some investment on LSI's side, as well. It will be easier to persuade them to actually take that risk if a lot of people say they'd be interested in buying films LSI produces (again, really produces, not repackages)

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  24. jeabzz

    jeabzz

    Thanx @anafaro for your initiative,count me in for sure, and thanx @mikahsupageek for all the informations !

    about 2 years ago · report as spam
  25. catarella

    catarella

    I'm also in for the petition!
    @mikahsupageek thanks for your post (not boring at all!)

    about 2 years ago · report as spam
  26. tere

    tere

    I'm also in for the petition!

    about 2 years ago · report as spam
  27. vicuna

    vicuna

    thanks @anafaro for bringing this up and of course, we all need different films to feed our cameras. I hope LSI will invest on more film production and keep it alive!

    about 2 years ago · report as spam
  28. adbigmilk

    adbigmilk

    @mikahsupageek "Kodak had to invent machines capable of producing enormous amounts of film. I'm talking of thousand of KILOMETERS of film per day" Waaah How cool is that ! We could pack the earth in film in a month ! ;D

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  29. anafaro

    anafaro

    @tsingtao, @vicuna, @why-yu, @cc-in-paris, @realrampage, @jeabzz, @sibu_sen, @sprofishgel, @liquorice, @grazie, @sweetyyydreams, @adi_totp, @guinastrapazi, @oneira1927, @domo-guy, @tomkiddo, @reneg88, @suizidekid, @mikahsupageek, @redtulip, @harrietgreen, @catarella, @jennysparkle, @adash, @yokekei, @macstef, @atria007, @earlybird, @metaluna, @gionnired, @nuhdos, @dollymixture, @adbigmilk, @tere, @laurasulilly, @feelux, @metaluna, @yokekei, @gionnired, @oliviermenard, @saidseni: First of all thank you so much for taking the time to read, like and/or comment this blog entry. It is very nice to see that so many of us feel strongly about this cause. @mikahsupageek, thank you so much for your very compressive explanation and for allowing us to understand things from an insiders' perspective. It was really nice reading your entry! I completely agree that if we are to petition something, we should know what we are asking for. Here's what was my initial idea (and I have absolutely no idea of the feasibility of this): what if another company was to buy the rights of production of at least one of the kodak emulsions? LSI has also other slide films. I imagine they have these films made for them by another film company (maybe Fuji? No idea!). What if we petition LSI for the production of a kodak slide emulsion? For instance, Rollei bought the "recipes" for AGFA films and this is why we see a resurgence of the Rollei films now. Of course I don't expect a company to buy everything from scratch, machines included, and start making the Elite Chrome I so much adore... But for an existing company it wouldn't mean such a big commercial risk. And I'm sure if they produce it, there would always be buyers. Specially these days with the resurgence of analogue photography.
    Now, in terms of the commercial strategy that LSI has been adopting lately, what I think they fail to understand is that we also spend a LOT of money in film on very regular basis! I easily spend the same amount of money as one of Lomography's cheap cameras every month... right now I don't buy it from Lomography because they simply don't sell them. I am personally not a big fan of the LSI film and they fail to have diversity on their webshop. But if they'd recover a film otherwise impossible to find else where, then we would definitely buy from them! This means they would revenue the cost if a stupid sardina camera (and yet another was launched yesterday...) every month from each of their already faithful costumers. The way I see it, there is definitely potential for profit!
    So, to summarize what I'm trying to say: I would write a petition to LSI alerting for the fact that we need to preserve film diversity and that without it people would stop buying their cameras. Therefore we ask LSI to produce at least one of the Kodak Slide emulsions. Do you agree?

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  30. anafaro

    anafaro

    Or as my friend @giorgious suggests: we threaten them with INSTAGRAM! :D

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  31. anafaro

    anafaro

    @dollymixture: I didn't know of this Facebook group. I will bring this up there as well! Many thanks! :)

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  32. sweetyyydreams

    sweetyyydreams

    @anafaro I agree with your proposition for the petition!

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  33. sprofishgel

    sprofishgel

    @anafaro: It´s as simple as that ! A petition to produce at least onde of Kodak Slide emulsions. I´ve been thinking about that (not the petition, but the possibility of LSI grab Kodak emulsions) since Kodak presented their almost bankruptcy. And I bet LSI has been thinking about that too. I mean, it´s a great opportunity, as we saw with Tungsten film launched by LSI. Now it´s up to them to check that feasibility.
    Congrats Ana ;)

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  34. adbigmilk

    adbigmilk

    I wonder if it's just a matter of time. If slide film is still a market. If there's still money to make. There certainly companies that's waiting Kodak die totaly and buy there recipes for a cheap price. If it's true there surely some years without Kodak slide film to go through.

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  35. dollymixture

    dollymixture

    @anafaro That seems like a totally reasonable idea to me, I'm all for it! : )

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  36. captainbonobo

    captainbonobo

    Hi guys - it was me who started the 'Kodak - Give Us Back Our E6' facebook group & if there is anything me or our members can do then please ask. Not sure what good we can do though. LSI seem content to peddle overpriced cameras in a never ending stream of 'editions'. I doubt that whilst the profits continue roll in they will see any reason to invest in anything else.
    My advice is to stock up wherever you can find it & cross your fingers that LSI read this thread & start using some of their wads of cash from selling tat to do something to secure the future of film. A camera is useless without the film after all...

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  37. lomography

    lomography

    It’s so good to read how dedicated you are to slide film and how far you would go to fight for it. We were also very concerned when we heard about Kodak’s problems but as you all know, we still believe that the future is analogue and we are working to make this happen every day. Besides developing analogue cameras we are heavily working on new film products to secure a steady film production for the future. This fight is not always easy and we have to deal with many obstacles along the way but we are very happy to say that film is here to stay. We tracked down film producers all over the world which enables us to release a new film product every few months - like the comeback of 110 film, the Tungsten, Earl Grey or Lady Grey. We know how much Lomographers love to experiment with slide films, so that’s why in the last year we brought the Tungsten. Don’t worry, we are always looking for more opportunities to give you more types of slide film to try out and there will be some exciting films coming out over the next months. For us it’s not only important to keep existing films alive but also to invent new ones, so be prepared for some world premieres coming up!
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  38. anafaro

    anafaro

    @tsingtao, @vicuna, @why-yu, @cc-in-paris, @realrampage, @jeabzz, @sibu_sen, @sprofishgel, @liquorice, @grazie, @sweetyyydreams, @adi_totp, @guinastrapazi, @oneira1927, @domo-guy, @tomkiddo, @reneg88, @suizidekid, @mikahsupageek, @redtulip, @harrietgreen, @catarella, @jennysparkle, @adash, @yokekei, @macstef, @atria007, @earlybird, @metaluna, @gionnired, @nuhdos, @dollymixture, @adbigmilk, @tere, @laurasulilly, @feelux, @metaluna, @yokekei, @gionnired, @oliviermenard, @saidseni, @captainbonobo: we already got heard by Lomography! :) Read the comment above! This doesn't mean we should put something together and write/petition to the LSI heaquarters. But it's already nice to know that our voices are being heard! :)

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  39. anafaro

    anafaro

    Ups... I meant to say "this doesn't mean we SHOULDN'T put something together..." :)

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  40. anafaro

    anafaro

    @lomography: thank you so much for the feedback! It's really nice to hear back from you and know what your plans are. As I was saying earlier, maintaining the diversity of slide film means you will keep your costumers loyal for a long period of time! I will gladly buy film from your brand provided I like the emulsion. At the moment it just so happens that I'm in a Kodak mood, but I've been a fan of the X-pro Chrome for the longest time! Give me a slide film with all my blues and reds and I'll be happy forever! :)

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  41. adash

    adash

    @lomography Thanks for the hands up. The future is analogue and you have proven your dedication to that statement more than once. The future is analogue also means that every piece of it is unique as are lomoghaphs, and as are the emulsions we shoot on. I am thus hoping you will do what is possible to save Kodak slide films from extinction!

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  42. adi_totp

    adi_totp

    Wohooooooo!!! :D Thanks @lomography !

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  43. redtulip

    redtulip

    @lomography Thanks a lot for your informative feedback. Please keep the slide film alive... ;D Your efforts will for sure be acknowledged by all the analogue photographers. After all we all love to test with different films! :D Lomo rocks!!

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  44. tere

    tere

    @lomography, thank you so much for the feedback! AND PLEASE keep the slide film alive...

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  45. yokekei

    yokekei

    thanks @anafaro for this article. Keep Slide Films Alive. KEEP FILM ALIVE.

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  46. harrietgreen

    harrietgreen

    gooooooo @anafaro well done for starting this debate and fighting to keep slide film alive!!!!!!!! I'm ready to help in whatever way I can!!!!!!!

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  47. wn7ant

    wn7ant

    I'd like to know what Kodak would do this for. I'll go to kickstarter and start a project there to cover the cost. If you have a way of contacting Kodak/are part of Kodak and reading this, contact me please.

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  48. istionojr

    istionojr

    your article really considerable if I'm working on LSI (and I belive they do). personally I really love kodak emulsions. long live analogue!

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  49. lubiolg82

    lubiolg82

    i'm together all you guys...!! thanks to everyone to sign this petition !!! i sign it too!!! SLIDE ALIVE --- SLIDE ALIVE ----

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  50. fotoglove

    fotoglove

    KODAK!!!!

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  51. schemerel

    schemerel

    very sad face :(

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  52. roxanneross

    roxanneross

    after reading the blog entry and the comments.. i'm in!

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  53. saidseni

    saidseni

    @anafaro: Cool, there is an answer! Great job! I hope they continue making films. I was in the Lomo Embassy in Lisbon last week and I manage to get my fingers on (probably) the last Lomography X-pro Chrome (which I find very similar to Kodak Ektachrome 100 G...). There are only a few Tungsten left... so, LSI really needs to make new films! But I still imagine a world in the analogue future where there are not only Lomography films... :)))

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