It’s one of those symbolic moments: a couple of weeks ago, Kodak filed for bankruptcy because it has failed to keep up with the shift from analogue to digital photography. This is the company that launched the consumer market for amateur photography in 1888, with its famous box camera. A dozen years later, by inventing a process of continuous casting of the celluloid film strip, they created the first monopoly in the new film industry. For decades the company remained at the cutting age of communications technology, from aerial surveillance to microelectronics, but it’s finally been outpaced by digitisation.
I’ve been reminded that I wrote an article back in 1978 called ‘The Kodak Shift’, analysing Kodak’s key position in the culture industry. Here it is: The Kodak Shift