Is Old Yellow About to Hit the Dust

  Photo of  Glenn Guy, the Travel Photography Guru,  at the  Kodak Photo CD Workstation  at  Coburg, Australia around 1995

Photo of Glenn Guy, the Travel Photography Guru, at the Kodak Photo CD Workstation at Coburg, Australia around 1995

That's me at a Kodak Photo CD Workstation around 1995. (I apologize for the poor quality of the image). My willingness to work an extra shift, unpaid, after hours for 2 weeks allowed me to be one of the first people in the world to operate this system.

I worked at the Australian headquarters of KODAK for 8 years from the beginning of 1990 till the end of 2007. When I started Kodak employed around 130,000 people worldwide, including several thousand at the Aussie headquarters in the Melbourne suburb of Coburg. It Now I'm told there's less than 50 employees Australia wide and that Kodak is now more a name than an actual trading company. The company's worldwide workforce has also been decimated.

I moved down to Melbourne in 1986 as a mature aged student to enhance my knowledge of photography by enrolling in a series of tertiary level courses. Prior to that I'd operated my own wedding/portrait studio prior to running the photography department of a small country newspaper. I supported my studies and travel by working in camera stores. The time came when I needed to move up in the world but, while not wanting to operate another wedding/portrait business, I still wanted to stay in the industry. That's when my time at Kodak began.

My first job, while still studying, was in the area of manufacturing film and paper. I worked between two and four 12 hour 20 minute shifts per week, while still enrolled in a full time photography degree. Dare I say the job involved a lot of night shifts, commuting from home to school, onto work and then, sometimes, back to school before cycling back home for a plate of baked beans and some sleep. The cycle would then commence again. Most weeks saw me up and at them for 36 hours straight, at least once per week.

After a short time in the credit (yuck) area I moved into a series of photo correspondent and technical roles supporting consumer and professional photographers alike. I spent the last 2 years of my time at Kodak as a Product Manager responsible for the Australian and New Zealand Professional Imaging (aka photography) Division. At the same time I ran the Q-LAB quality assurance program throughout Australia and provided assistance for professional E-6 (transparency film processing) labs throughout the Australasian and much of the Asian region. The fact that I was probably doing the work of 3 people was simply a sign that the rot at old yellow was well and truly underway.

It's such a shame to witness the demise of such a strong, inovative and vibrant company. A former colleague fowarded me a link to an article describing Kodak's current situation. Its worth the read. You can check it out HERE. It would be great to read your thoughts on this situation. Do you have any memories of old yellow? How did it affect your life? Where do you see photography heading in the future?

Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru