Monday, October 5, 2009
Plus-X pan film, produced by the near-obsolete Kodak Corp. for generations, has just been discontinued and will no longer be available. Kodak has been making a habit in recent years, as you may know, of tearing down plants devoted to the production of film and papers, its staple for most of the 20th Century.
So this news came as just another blow for those of us who are firmly committed with our feet on the ground to the usage and output of black and white film, in my case for portrait photography.
Although students and young photographers are thankfully returning back to the roots and are recognising the merits of film-based photography and demanding supplies from high schools and colleges, the industry has not yet accounted for so-to-speak this "new generation" rising from the ashes and are cutting costs by dropping product lines that are no longer deemed profitable based on stats from the 90s...
The death of yet another beloved film such as Plus-X will only create new opportunities in the marketplace and as demand from the young and motivated increases, I hope to see a resurgence, a return back to life of these tried and true films. Am I dreaming in technicolor? Perhaps. But I do have hope that the end is not near, that the sphynx will rise from the ashes...
I started shooting with the legendary Kodak Plus-X back in the 1970s, and always loved the film's grain structure, its panchromatic, wide- ranging base, its subtle evenness of tones and especially how it produced beautiful skin tones for my portraits over the years. The photos live on, unfortunately for now at least, the film that produced them does not.
It had always been there for me. I hope this final "kick in the film canister" is a wake-up call for all young photographers to rise up and demand the return of products deemed obsolete but not-equalled. I'll miss my Plus-X very much.