Dear Kodak,

In light of recent developments and announcements from you guys, I am writing mainly to get a few things off my chest.  By discontinuing Readyload film, you are shoving a huge wrench in the way that I photograph.  Actually, that’s an understatement.  You are discontinuing the way that I photograph.  First it was Polaroid, and when that went down I thought, “Jeez…what if Kodak stopped making Readyloads…that would be a disaster.”  Well, thanks Kodak.  My photographic process is now an official disaster area.  Yeah, I get that you’re still going to make sheet film, but even I would venture to say that shooting sheet film in film holders is pretty impractical.  I can easily go through 100 sheets in a few hours on a job so lugging 50 film holders around isn’t going to cut it for me.  

Now do I have to black out a room in my house so that I can load film and hopefully continue to shoot large format?  Seriously…have a heart.  As I’ve said before, I do not hate digital.  It definitely has it’s uses and applications.  It’s quicker for sure.  It helps on jobs with lots of people around who want to be 100% sure that we “got it”.  I also realize that many many many photographers enjoy shooting digital.  I am very happy for them.  But why can’t we all be happy?  I want to be happy too.  I was happy.  Everything was cool.  I’d shoot digital when necessary and then shoot my 4×5 all other times.  Just this past weekend, I spent two long days in New Jersey with my Wista, driving around and stopping whenever I saw something worth shooting.  It was 100 degrees outside.  I was sweating profusely, and had a great time by my sweaty self.  I threw everything into one bag – the camera, lens, lightweight tripod, meter, loupe, polaroid back, Readyload back, polaroid, and film.  How the fuck are you supposed to load film on location?  I know – there’s the tent thing, but come on.  It’s just ridiculous that we no longer have the option of buying things that accurately illustrate how we want to express ourselves.

When I bought film last week for the New Jersey trip, I spent almost 200 bucks on two boxes of Readyload.  That’s pretty steep, no doubt.  I couldn’t care less though.  I don’t have money to burn, but there are certain things that are worth whatever they cost.  Kodak, you could charge pretty much whatever you wanted, and I would still find a way to buy the film that I want to shoot.  Maybe I would be more selective about how I use it, but that could wind up working in my favor.  I feel like this is all heading somewhere bad….some creepy version of the future where a cell phone camera is all any photographer needs and/or is allowed to have, we buy art at IKEA and, spicy food is illegal, and coffee just tastes like hot brown water…or something like that…I don’t know.  I’m obviously no psychic, just a worried gal trying to maintain some sense of creativity and control.

When all is said and done, at a certain point I have to admit defeat.  I hate that this is happening.  We’ve been through a lot together, and you’re breaking my heart. 

Your longtime buddy,

PS – Thanks Wyatt for the heads up and ruining my day.  Kidding.  Sort of.  

6 comments to Dear Kodak,

  • nina

    Word Up! This is VERY BAD NEWS!

    Yes one can do 4x% with holders, but really a pain in the butt unless you are in a studio.
    Oh this all makes me so sad.
    Last week I was shooting in the Bahamas — analog & digital (trying to stay with the times) and my 5D just decided to take a break. It di dnot like the heat and humidity.
    Just as I always knew it would not…

  • Stubbsk

    I love digital but I’m excited about returning to film when I start uni. If I’m going to shoot film then I’m going to shoot 5×4 but am I wasting my time? Something is very wrong when we start to loose our creative freedom.

    What would happen if a painter couldn’t buy a canvas? It’s always the photographers who suffer.

  • Raoul Benavides

    Another dagger into my big fragile heart. Thank you Fucking Kodak Motherfuckers…

  • drew

    that’s a bummer. that’s a real bummer.

  • Terence Patrick

    It’s amazing that a technology & craft that is well over 100 years old is quickly being killed off by one that is less than 20.

    Here’s to hoping that Fuji maintains the tradition for another 100 years.

  • peteyd

    I’m so bummed by this too. I use the kodak color neg for most of my landscape photography and i just can’t fit 50 film holders in my backpack and lug them up some mountain or whatever.