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05-14-2010, 10:18 AM   #1
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What would George Eastman say...

(please move this if it's in the wrong forum)

There's much that's been said about camera ubiquity in the modern age. We can only guess what Ansel Adams might think of digital photography, but I know exactly how George Eastman would see it.

He'd love it.

George Eastman was like a Henry Ford for photography. He thought that picture-taking should be easy and affordable, and accessible to everyone. He made making it so his life's mission, and founded Eastman Kodak on that principle.

A modern world where there are cheap cameras that can take hundreds or thousands of pictures on the dollar would delight him to no end, I'm sure.

05-14-2010, 11:56 AM   #2
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You don't need to guess about how Adams would have felt. He was tremendously excited by the possibilities he saw in digital photography, but he also knew he wasn't going to be around to see it become something more than an electronic curiosity.
05-14-2010, 12:53 PM   #3
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The two men of course looked at digital from very different perspectives.

For Eastman, while certainly he wanted photography for the masses... but he also wanted to get rich while helping make that happen. So, from a film manufacturing point of view, he'd be less than pleased... from a sensor and post processing / finishing and camera selling pov, maybe he'd see the possibilities. But absent the commercial interest, I'm sure he'd be delighted - cameras in phones and phones without wires!

For Adams what the masses use wouldn't affect him too much - he was interested in the highest quality possible and the manipulation of the image to the best artistic purpose. So as Wheatfield says, he was excited by the possibilities, but didn't live long enough to pioneer...
05-14-2010, 05:31 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Nesster Quote
The two men of course looked at digital from very different perspectives.

For Eastman, while certainly he wanted photography for the masses... but he also wanted to get rich while helping make that happen. So, from a film manufacturing point of view, he'd be less than pleased... from a sensor and post processing / finishing and camera selling pov, maybe he'd see the possibilities. But absent the commercial interest, I'm sure he'd be delighted - cameras in phones and phones without wires!
Quite true. To a great extent, Eastman was to photography what Ford was to the automobile.
Both wanted everyone to have his product because of the profit motive.
While this certainly wouldn't have been the entire reason, I don't think it is realistic to look at Eastman's efforts as being completely altruistic either. IIRC, the original Kodak cameras had to be sent back to Kodak for processing and printing and reloading with film, which was very much a closed system.
It wasn't until somewhat later that an industry grew up around cameras and photography, with little labs (supplied by Kodak, of course) began springing up in apothecaries all over North America.

05-15-2010, 04:15 AM   #5
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I'll never forgive Kodak for 620 film.
05-15-2010, 10:29 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Nesster Quote
I'll never forgive Kodak for 620 film.
They also made too many crap cameras to use with 127. That format had possibilities but wasn't taken advantage of by many good bodies except for a few like the Exacta and baby Rolleiflex.
05-15-2010, 10:50 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
You don't need to guess about how Adams would have felt. He was tremendously excited by the possibilities he saw in digital photography, but he also knew he wasn't going to be around to see it become something more than an electronic curiosity.
Ditto! Adams saw some early digital cameras and knew it was a matter of time. There's an interview somewhere that was done with him in the 80s about this very thing.
05-16-2010, 06:11 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Blue Quote
Ditto! Adams saw some early digital cameras and knew it was a matter of time. There's an interview somewhere that was done with him in the 80s about this very thing.
This was where I got my info. It may have been in a Zone VI newsletter, I don't recall any more.

05-20-2010, 10:44 AM   #9
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Thanks all for setting me right about Adams' opinion of Digital. And though I realize Eastman wasn't exactly altruistic, I still think the availability and affordability of photography would thrill him. Especially when he learned that Kodak is still around.
05-21-2010, 09:52 AM   #10
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Eastman would no thave sat back and watch Digital pass them by though, he would have seen it early and pushed boundaries unlike the giblets who were in charge 7 to 10 years ago.
05-26-2010, 07:50 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Alfisti Quote
Eastman would no thave sat back and watch Digital pass them by though, he would have seen it early and pushed boundaries unlike the giblets who were in charge 7 to 10 years ago.
Under Eastman's direction, Kodak probably would have pioneered cheap digital photography, not just in the cameras, but printers and other accessories, rather than playing catch-up.
05-26-2010, 09:12 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by unixrevolution Quote
Under Eastman's direction, Kodak probably would have pioneered cheap digital photography, not just in the cameras, but printers and other accessories, rather than playing catch-up.
You are probably right but what happened to Kodak has happened to many companys when the product that has become their bread and butter for decades all of a sudden becomes obsolete. While they always had a line of cameras, their bread and butter was film and they made money off everybody elses cameras. I really don't think they saw the digital camera taking over as fast as it did. Successful companys today have to be constantly tuned to consumer needs and willing to risk new products. Apple does that well. Steve Jobs and George Eastman are a good comparison also. Take note of what happened to Apple when they forced Jobs out for a few years because the shareholders felt the company needed more "traditional" leadership. Kodak made great film and decent, easy to use cameras for the masses. They just couldn't see past film until it was too late.
05-26-2010, 09:19 AM   #13
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Indeed. My favourite camera store here in town suffered the same fate: thought digital would never take off so hung onto the film camera business. To his eventual financial demise. He and partners still have the processing part of the business going (and he is very very good) but has got out of the hardware end of it.

Jack
05-27-2010, 04:08 PM   #14
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"Have that whore bathed and sent to my darkroom." - George Eastman
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