FLEX YR. HEAD
A letter to Kodak, from a train south of Poughkeepsie
I would not be here without your fine company. My paternal grandfather, Harry J. Sapienza served as a Junior Executive until his death in 1969. His transfer from the now-defunct Recordak Microfilm Division in New York to the Rochester headquarters in 1966 is the reason my family returned to Rochester, retook root, and ultimately why I am here. Though I never met my grandfather, I inherited both his love of photography, and an unflappable loyalty to your product. I was extremely saddened and disappointed in the recent announcement of your discontinuation of color reversal films. Frankly, I believe this is a tremendous mistake.
Bankruptcy is a turbulent and trying time of restructuring and re-prioritizing, and naturally extraneous products and services must go. Following this logic, it does seem natural to discontinue poorly performing products to focus on successful and industry-leading products, which is where the problem with the discontinuation of color reversal films lies: while demand has undoubtedly dropped from previous decades, it is still THE industry leader in terms of saturation, grain, and sharpness.
I am a photographer who works solely with Kodak film, shooting upwards of three rolls a week between your Tri-X, Portra, and Elite Chrome product lines. I feel that each of these products is the best money can buy, and I am not alone in sharing this sentiment. Certainly the market is not as large as it was before the advent of digital image technology, but your product still beats the pants off any offering by Fujifilm, Ilford, Agfa, or any other competitor.
In your time of restructuring, I urge you to please spare your film division. Now is the time to focus on your outstanding products and understand that while the mass market is not as it was, there is still a large and thriving community of fine art and journalism photographers that rely heavily on your products. You are still the gold standard of film, and I hope you will continue to be for decades to come.
James Derek Sapienza