Graphic designer James Coleman revisits the camera’s analogue roots and reinvents the classic Kodak Brownie, giving it a whole new life and modern look. Although these are just renders, one can’t help but be awed by this unique idea so we spend a few minutes with him to talk shop.
Hey guys, have you seen these? I’m sure you’re all familiar with, or at least heard about the ubiquitous Kodak Brownie which is one of the most influential vintage analogue cameras out there. While this IS a classic, UK based designer James Coleman decided to spice things up a bit and rendered this little family of Kodak Brownies in bright, playful colors for the 2010 Olympics! Clad in a myriad of striking hues, these analogue beauties are sure to be the life of the party. While there is no assurance right now tha they will ever see the light of day, we can all hope, as these babies fit just right in our colorful Lomography lives! This just goes to show that film is alive and well right here in the digital age. We got in touch with James and here’s what he had to say!
1. What prompted you to design/re-design the classic Kodak Brownie?
It started as a university project to redesign a product that had previously exhibited gradual changes in its design over a long period of time (an evolutionary design).
My dad still has his Flash III that he got in 1962, and it’s always fascinated me how different it is to the 35mm cameras that I’ve grown up with. I’ve also done some work on the Kodak Brownie for university before so I was familiar with it’s design and legacy.
Even though the Brownie name hasn’t been used for over 40 years, my lecturer was happy for me to base my project on the Brownie and it wasn’t long until I’d also decided to use the traditional ‘box’ Brownie design to start as a base for my concept, as it is the most instantly recognizable and well known Brownie design. As Kodak had always used special events to release special edition Brownies, I decided, to increase the realism of the project, to do so as well. Being from London, the London 2012 Olympics were the obvious choice. The whole project lasted about 5 weeks.
2. What are the chances that your design will be realized and produced?
Kodak has been aware of the project since mid-February, although I don’t know enough about copyright, trademarks and patents to say whether or not a 3rd party company could have any chance of producing it. The Yanko feature has certainly brought a lot of attention to the concept. Every attempt will be made to create this product which has received a lot of public support. For example, Kodak currently does not cover the toy camera market…
I would like to point out this French Kodak Twitter post, which was in response to several people asking questions about the camera:
“officially for the moment no more information on the subject…”
(Kodak have not said “No, never”.)
3. Do you still shoot with film? What is your experience with it?
I personally don’t shoot with film nowadays, in fact I’m not much of a photography at all (I prefer video for storing memories). I agree that digital cameras cannot capture everything that a film camera does, I can’t say what it is, but there is rarely ever any ‘magic’ in a digitally captured image, they are too perfect. But for now whenever I am shooting stills I prefer the reliability and convenience of a digital camera.
Find out more about James in his Online Portfolio!