Film photographers, it's time to celebrate! Lomography and Kodak Alaris make a combined commitment to analogue photography. This partnership promises to keep producing a large variety of photographic film emulsions alive and kicking in the 21st century.
We had a chat with Lars Fielder of Kodak Alaris about issues that Lomographers wonder about: Will there be new films? Any hopes of reviving discontinued film? What can we expect more from Kodak? Read on and be enlightened.
Firstly, it’s great to hear that Kodak are back on track. Please could you update us on the financial situation? We hear the Kodak bankruptcy has officially ended. What does this mean for the company?
You are right, Eastman Kodak Company has successfully emerged from Chapter 11 at the beginning of September and we are optimistic about its future. You’ve probably also heard about the launch of the Kodak Alaris company – formed by the two businesses Eastman Kodak spun off as part of their emergence from chapter 11: Personalised Imaging and Document Imaging.
Please can you tell us a bit more about the new company Kodak Alaris. What is Kodak Alaris and how does it differ from the Kodak that came before?
The businesses that make up Kodak Alaris – Personalised Imaging and Document Imaging – are all profitable and strong. As a new, debt-free company and backed by the financial strentgh of the Kodak Pension Plan, our long-term oriented investor, we will be able to focus and invest more in the future of our business. And this is where the excitement is for Personalised Imaging: Building upon the unique and valuable assets from our heritage, we will be foster a leaner and more entrepreneurial culture that will allow us to better anticipate and adapt to fast moving consumer trends and grab new market opportunities. As a consumer business, we are as committed today to safeguarding your Kodak Moments as we ever were!
What products do Kodak Alaris Personalised Imaging stock?
Building upon the unique and valuable assets from our heritage, Kodak Alaris’ Personalised Imaging will continue to offer you everything you expect from a leading photography brand, including: trusted and beloved Kodak still-camera film products; the widest range of traditional photographic paper and workflow solutions for labs; instant printing with the retail instant picture kiosks offering consumers personalised premium photo products; digital souvenir photography services and solutions at theme parks, iconic destinations & resorts.
So whether you are a photographer who loves to shoot on film, looking forward to get the maximum out of your images printed on photographic paper, or someone who shoots and prints for fun using digital – we want you to know that we’re dedicated to delivering a product or service to suit your every need. Our products will continue to use the iconic Kodak brand and offer the same world-class quality. More importantly, we will continue to offer the full portfolio of photographic films and papers. Whether you prefer shooting on the award-winning KODAK PROFESSIONAL PORTRA films or an all time classic like the KODAK PROFESSIONAL TRI-X or you look forward to print your images on the unmatched KODAK PROFESSIONAL ENDURA Metallic paper – Kodak Alaris will continue to offer all you need!
Why are Kodak Alaris continuing to put an emphasis on film production in the 21st century? Why do you think film photography is important?
I guess it is no secret or surprise that the demand on photographic films has declined quite a bit over the last 10 years – and most likely that is what we will see continuously – although abating. That said, it is important to support film photography as there are still many film photographers out there. and we even see more young people, who born and growing up in today’s digital world interested in film photography – and somewhat excited by the “Old” what is the “New” to them.
Are there any plans for Kodak to release any new films?
As mentioned before, I believe that the key message to all those film shooters out there is that the full range of photographic films continues to be available. In addition to that, we do run a program that offers the possibility to order large format sized sheet film items on a special order basis. These are being offered via selective partners, e.g. K.B. Cenham Cameras in the US or GFH-Foto in Germany. More details can be found on http://www.kodakalaris.com/go/professional
Are there any plans to bring back previously discontinued films?
Again, it is key for all film lovers that there are no immediate changes planned to our portfolio of photographic films. That said, all decisions to discontinue films in the past were driven by changes in user preferences and or the digital substitution, resulting in the demand of these specific films dropping off a cliff which made it unsustainable to keep them unfortunately. All of these films were old emulsions. At the same time, we have continued to optimize many films in our portfolio and added innovative new ones, like the EKTAR 100.
How do Kodak Alaris plan to ensure the availability of film stays strong for years to come?
As we’ve said for many years, the life cycle of film will depend on people continuing to chose to shoot film. As for any other product, the needs and demand of the overall market will define to be a demand by consumers and professionals for the products. That said, we certainly see the importance of film for many users and realize there are other factors: E.g. the fact that there are less places where you can buy films and or get them processed nowadays. In order to support the film photographers, we have developed our free KODAK Professional Film App for iOS devices. This App helps you to access your nearest sales and development location for film as well as a variety of on-the-go information about film formats, what films to use in different situations and access to a black and white processing tool and sun calculator.
Why do you personally enjoy shooting film?
It is the emotions related to it. While Digital might well have its advantages depending on what you like to achieve, I like the different approach that shooting film kind of forces you into: rather than shooting like silly, with Film you open your eyes, you look for that special moment you’d love to capture. And I also like the piece of uncertainty left with you until you get your developped film back and see the actual results. Plus, there’s simply no better more emotional way than holding a print in your hand or look at it hanging on the wall.
We hear you enjoy shooting with the Spinner 360, that’s great! – Please could you tell us why you like the camera and share any of your photos with the Lomography community?
I love the Spinner – it is ultimately fun shooting with this camera! So I have to admit that there’s also the big fun part of shooting film – but again, that’s an emotion. The 360° images are just amazing and once you start using the Spinner, you simply can’t stop – also because everyone around you wants to try it as well. So you better be prepared and have enough films with you!