While Kodak is still around, it remains revered for its rich film legacy and not really for any of its digital offerings. In fact, the Kodak disposable camera (or single-use camera, if you’d rather call it) is more popular today than any of its EasyShare digital point-and-shoot cameras. It’s actually puzzling, as a commercial from the mid-1990s reminds us of the time that the company seemed to have understood what it meant to take pictures further.
The video below, shared by YouTube user YouTude, actually came with an interesting question in the description: “How and where did Kodak go wrong when in this mid-90’s commercial, they seemed to ‘get it?'” Watch and you’ll see why.
“A picture can be what you want it to be….Take pictures. Further.” said the commercial, because it suggests you can either print it out or save it on your computer. And you can easily make as many copies as you want. These ideas pretty much predicted what was going to be the main selling point of digital photography: convenience and the way forward.
The commercial is not so much selling a particular camera or line of cameras, but the promise of innovative technology (eagle-eyed viewers may have even caught the name for it: Kodak “digital science”) that was going to shape the future of photography. And it did – except Kodak never really had a big part in it. While companies like Canon and Nikon soared and dominated the digital era, Kodak remained in the shadows, their digital product never really flying in the market.
Any curious photography enthusiast would be pressed to ask what happened? Mashable made an interesting analysis of Kodak’s missed digital moments and came to the conclusion that it was a matter of unsuccessful attempts at digital technology simply because they were afraid to cannibalize their film business. It’s worth noting that the feature was written in 2012 — a time when digital photography was the norm yet the film photography resurgence was also starting to bubble up. So, as a side note, the past two decades or so saw Kodak at the crossroads when it comes to their place in the photography world.
But, that’s for another story.
Additional Reading: Kodak’s First Digital Moment
Screenshot image from the video