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Kodak, the 131-year-old photography pioneer, filed for bankruptcy on January 19th 2012.Eastman Kodak announced early this morning that filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy was “the right thing to do for the future” of the company.In a statement, Kodak CEO Antonio Perez said company leadership decided the move was “a necessary step.”Innovation Trail has followed the story over the course of 2012.

"You press* the button, we do the rest" - George Eastman

Image Courtesy of George Eastman House

Thank goodness for the timing of Kodak's announcement. Otherwise this week has been dominated by the "F" word. Anyone in the market for 100,000 yellow photo printing kiosks?

"Send a dollar to your local Kodak Dealer for a Brownie Camera. If there is no dealer in your area, send us a dollar and we will ship the camera promptly."

112 years after Kodak's Brownie went on sale, the company will officially get out of the camera business on the 30th of September. The legacy of the release of the first true "mass market" camera is confined almost exclusively to the 20th century, but is still apparent when visiting any estate sale or flea market around the nation or internationally. The "democratization of photography" as its been called has transformed our notions of memory, family and history. 

Pearltrees has an interesting way of aggregating information and this is a graphic generated there around the centenary of the Brownie camera.

David Brooks from shutterbug.com wrote a couple of year's ago about how the Brownie model continues to be influential in the digital environment.

Here's a terrific pre-sound era promotional film Kodak made to launch its new 16mm Cine-Kodak special way back in the day.


Were you ever a "Kodak Girl"? Here's what she looked like when Eastman Kodak tested its Kodachrome film stock back in 1922.


Seven out of the nine Oscar-nominated films of 2012 were shot on Kodak film.

Including the very original Beasts Of The Southern Wild shot by Ben Richardson.

Fortunately it looks like Kodak is sticking with its Commercial Film operation.

This Kodak promotional movie about its film manufacturing c.1958 (in Dutch with subtitles) has some terrific animation sequences in its own right.


Karen Rosenberg from the New York Times ponders how our need to share transformed photography as any glance at flickr will also affirm.

In his usual style Mad Men's Don Draper has some insights on the nexus between technology and nostalgia in this widely circulated clip.


Maybe a real-life Don Draper was behind this inspired decision to cast cinema genius Buster Keaton in this promotional film for the then 'state-of-the art' Instamatic camera.


And you may remember how Polaroid shook things up with the release of the instant camera? This timely entry to the lens.blog.nytimes.com site by Adam McCauley has some interesting things to say about how photography and innovation have been inextricably linked.

This book may have been helpful to Kodak executives, if it had been written in around 1981.

The business reporter for the Democrat and Chronicle, Matthew Daneman has followed the Kodak saga and shared this update with the Need To Know Rochester program at wxxi.org and host Julie Philipp.

* Thanks to Dresden Engle from the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film for contacting Innovation Trail to correct our previous posting which had the word "push" instead of the correct "press". Dresden kindly supplied the image of the original advertisement as well.