When I first heard the news about Kodak filing for Chapter 11 on January 19, 2012, I was instantly brought back to the memory of a 5-year-old girl with pigtails running around crowds of family members taking maybe some of the worst photos ever. As a photographer, I had to start somewhere. I would steal my mother’s Kodak camera to take pictures of my pets, grandparents and strangers walking by our window as I looked out over the back of the couch. My first real memory, though, was at Christmas. Running around the house I tried to burn out all the bulbs on my mom’s camera, because I loved the flash and I knew I created a memory with it. Kodak was the start of a lifelong love of mine. I truly hope my first love and my first camera, a Kodak Polaroid Supercolor 635 CL, will live on a little longer though.
Kodak is looking for a fresh start with filing for Chapter 11. Its game plan is to reorganize the business and market Kodak’s website to consumers and small business owners with digital printers and software. A bigger part of their plan is to emerge as a leader in the global market for giant commercial ink jet printers. However, with a debt of $6.75 billion dollars, will Chapter 11 give them the fresh start? In reality, Kodak has not been on top of their game since 1997, which was the last year they were still competitive. Does filing for Chapter 11 give them a fresh start or are they trying to buy time and let the company be sold off into smaller pieces?
Now that business moves at such a fast pace and leans more toward digital, how can they compete? To be fair and honest, when the first digital camera came out, I moved to that medium and left film behind. I do use Kodak paper for my printing needs, but as much as I miss film and the instant film of a Polaroid, I find myself creating albums online, sharing photos online and starting to use less paper. Am I saying goodbye to a childhood memory, a photography icon and how I made my start as a photographer? I just might be, but I still have my Polaroids and, as nerdy as I am, I still carry them in my pocket because of the memories they hold.