Goodbye Kodak

Campo di Fiori: Rome

Many years ago, I ran a photography department in a major Montreal hospital. Twice a year we would get a visit from the local Kodak rep. He would arrogantly march in to my studio and sit himself down and for the next hour or so, extol the wonderful benefits of their latest color print film. I would always have to interrupt him and remind him that departments such as ours never used color print film. Although I had mentioned this to him on many occasions, he never remembered and in spite of my reminder, he would continue with his pitch. Every now and then, he would come in and talk about a new slide or black and white film (which interested us)  but his explanations of why they was superior to the previous films was always far too technical and utterly useless. Finally I would ask him to send us a few samples to try out. His response was always the same.

“Kodak does not supply free samples.”

That was that. We used Ilford black and white products. The rep would visit about every second month. He always has a box of 100 sheets of enlarging paper with him and he would talk about his products briefly, and then go into the darkroom with us to jointly test them out and compare the with the the older version. If there was ever a problem with any of their products, we would call him up and a replacement would be delivered the following day.

That was 30 years ago. I never remembered the name of the Kodak rep but I will never forget the name of the Ilford rep. Business is all about creating and maintaining relationships. Kodak never understood that.

The photograph above was shot on Kodak Tri-X—one of the best products they ever made. The reason I posted it is because it was shot on my last visit to Italy using a film camera. The following year I bought a digital camera and have been using one ever since. The other reason I posted this picture is because I was thinking about Italy and wondering what me next visit (in the fall) would be like.


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