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Kodak app aims to attract new users to old technology

Eastman Kodak

Kodak has launched a free iPhone app to help photography enthusiasts in the U.S and Europe work with their film stock.

The shift to digital formats has meant it can be harder for people with an interest in the analog format to access the services that support film. Where do I buy it? What kind do I use? Where can I get it developed?

Kodak says over the past few years they've continued to receive a high number of enquiries, and this app was developed to keep information about their legacy film technology out in the market. 

Despite Kodak’s recent financial troubles, U.S product manager for Kodak film, Tim Ryugo says the company’s legacy product is still going strong.*

“I must say our film sales have increased. It’s a very profitable product for us.”

Ryugo says the Kodak Professional app is easy to navigate and will hopefully bring new users 'back' to analog film.

Users will see five choices listed on the home page of the app: type of film, what film to use, film format, where to buy film, and where to process film.

Each page then takes you through a process of finding the right answer for each user, Ryugo says.

Users can also use the app to find processing labs that use Kodak paper and chemicals through a location finder.

Who still shoots on film?

Photographer Joseph Prezioso learned to shoot using film, and he says the app isn’t just a handy informational tool, it has the potential to get younger photographers into film, and that excites him.

He says digital photography has its place, but he worries younger generations will end up without a visual history as most smartphone snappers aren’t printing or backing up their digital image files.

“This generation is going to have a loss of their memories. I can go to my mother’s house and go to a shoe box, or even one of the albums and I can see my entire life, and she still prints stuff out. But I feel like my little nieces and nephews, unless I take the time to print something for them, there are no photos of them growing up.”

The 'grain' of film

Photographer Julia Galdo says that film is a medium that enhances the artistic quality of her work.

According to Galdo “...it’s just a lot more sentimental looking, and captures a lot more of the highlights and the shadows.” 

Galdo is part of professional photography company JUCO in California, and she says shooting with a roll of film that only has ten frames makes a photographer slow down and think more about their shot.

But, Galdo says using film isn’t always a walk in the park.

“It’s expensive, it takes a long time, you can’t just snap off a billion photographs when you’re shooting analogs. For me, it just kind of makes me a better photographer when I sit down, and slow it down and look and think about what I’m doing. I think it requires you to think about all your tools, your gear, and I guess be a more hands on photographer, which is something that I like the challenge of."

Galdo says she hopes the Kodak app might attract more people to using film, and this could potentially drive the price of the medium down.

But whether it gets cheaper or not, Galdo says film is something every photographer should have to work with at some point, and something she will stick with.

“Anything that I shoot personally or with great importance goes on film - just because I want to be able to have it and hold it 50 or 100 years from now - and I’m not exactly sure what digital files are going to look like at that point.”

*Editors note. Despite recent decisions to divest itself of its image business, demand for Kodak film stock remains strong, particularly amongst filmmakers.  Here's a link to a site of dedicated film stock users that includes a user review of the new app.

WXXI/Finger Lakes Reporter for the Innovation Trail