When Eastman Kodak Company announced the discontinuation of its line of professional color reversal films on March 1 it was the latest disappointment in a months-long string of miserable news from the company. The slow march toward Kodak’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing in the beginning of 2012 was preceded by weeks of gloomy rumors and news stories about shares of the company’s common stock dropping below $1.
After Kodak’s bankruptcy announcement, photographers who over the past several years had seen film and paper stocks discontinued, labs shuttered, and analogue photography equipment and resources dwindle could be forgiven for believing that the drawn-out “death of film” was finally reaching its conclusion, and that the discontinuation of Kodak’s slide film was the beginning of the long-rumored end.
The reality, however, is that the film business remains profitable for Kodak and other film manufacturers, and film is showing glimmers of a resurgence among professional photographers and analogue enthusiasts. Manufacturers, photographers and retailers alike report signs of a rising demand for film. But whether or not Kodak’s film business will survive bankruptcy proceedings, and whether the film market will be sustainable long-term without a hike in prices, remains to be seen. (In early May, FujiFilm announced a 20 percent price increase for all of its films that will take effect in August 2012.)