Friday, June 17, 2005

Last Chance to See

So on the same day that US Target stores announce what amounts to a gradual phasing out of VHS movies, Kodak pre-announces the end of Black & White photographic paper production. Mike, who's knowledgable in such things, tells me that few photographers in his acquaintance are Kodak paper users, and the whole thing says more about the economics of selling something based on silver than on the death of traditional printing. After all, Kodak also announced they're pulling out of Digital SLR production. Over time though it's a dead cert that regular photo paper (and film for that matter) will become the preserve of a specialist few, with the materials sourced from (expensive) niche producers. This doesn't mean it's going away entirely, any more than letterpress printing has disappeared completely, but it starts to look more and more like a fine-art/craft than a genuine medium, and the decision to continue teaching it in art schools has to be considered in that light. We certainly couldn't make a case for mass education in hand-lettering anymore either, no matter what Steve Jobs owes to his Calligraphy teacher.


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