It seems impossible to write about the last days of film without at least trying address the impact of digital, but, as I have reminded myself, this isn’t that kind of post. A photographer friend shared this link yesterday on Facebook and it is definitely worth the share here and the words that go with it. Photographer Robert Burley’s Daily Beast Gallery The Last Days of Film is a serene look back at the dismantling of the analogue age of our medium. It is a look into what was once institutional and inseparable from photography, it is a look at the dismantling of what some thought would always be.
There was a time when there was no photography without Kodak, Agfa, Fuji, Ilfrod or the like and I understand how for some, it is impossible to think of photography without them. In 2005 Burley ironically turned the lens of his sheet film camera to the process of obsolescence as studio photographers retired and industry giants wound down production in some cases bringing to the ground with dynamite icons of the industry. In the screen grab above Burley shows the implosion of Kodak buildings in Rochester, New York and it is only one image of the 70 or so images that appear in his book The Disappearance of Darkness: Photography at the End of the Analog Era. Look at his photos and read the captions.
Fortunately I think there will always be a niche market for film and the Impossible Project is pretty good evidence of that. I know a lot of photographers with stashes of quietly expiring film in our fridges and on our shelves, in fact, on a shelf above my computer sit two rolls of Ektachrome 100VS and a roll of Tri-X, and there is more stashed in drawers and cupboards around my apartment.