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Are There Any More “KODAK MOMENTS”?

Last week, I participated in one of those ubiquitous “golf-outing” fund raisers for a charity whose Board of Directors I am on. At some point during these golf scrambles, a photographer comes around for the obligatory “group shot” of each foursome. We joked a bit about having a “Kodak Moment.” The photographer, of course, was carrying a digital camera, and so the banter moved from “Kodak” to “digital moment,” “pixel moment,” “e-moment,” etc.

I first ventured into the serious pursuit of nature photography in 1977. At that time, it seemed that the only argument was whether Kodachrome 25 or 64 was better. Occasionally, you would see someone using, Kodacolor, Tri-X, or something like that. There were other “players” out there, but Eastman Kodak clearly had the lions share of the market. Certainly Simon and Garfunkel thought so.

Even by the 1990’s, when Fuji had taken dominance in this market, Kodak still seemed to hold its own, particularly with its consumer color negative films. So, as long as film was the media of the day, the “Kodak Moment” phrase still had some traction. I fear, today, that if you were to use the “Kodak Moment” line around my children–who have grown up in the digital age–you would get lots of blank looks.

While I can certainly wax nostalgic about my K-25 (and in my mind there never really has been anything like it), and refrigerators full of different emulsions during the ‘90’s, but I won’t kid myself. Since my move to digital, I have never seriously looked back. In the early years there was a lot of debate about whether digital was a gimmick or a fluke that would never really supplant fine art film and equipment. But I don’t think anyone seriously argues today, that digital is here to stay, and I for one could not be more pleased. It has opened up so many more avenues of creativity at a much lower cost for so many of us.

But I digress. My lead in was about “Kodak Moments.” Perhaps sadly, if digital is here to stay, the “Kodak Moment” is going the way of the Tintype. After a fair amount of banter and debate, I have come up with my new favorite.

I am going with “Adobe Moment.” Hey, maybe it will catch on.

If it does, remember you read it here first (though I don’t doubt someone else has said and/or written it already).


10 Responses

  1. I’ve always thought of a “Kodak Moment” as a special circumstance that you couldn’t easily recreate. And I think the phrase will hang around for a while.One of the ironies of photography is that most of my favorite shots of our kids were taken by my wife. Before both kids started school, I took the family on a business trip with me on the gulf coast of Florida. One day, while I was teaching at a customer site nearby, my wife took some incredible shots of our kids frolicking on the beach. One, with them skipping, while holding hands, is perfect. She didn’t stop to think where the sun was or what the camera settings were. She used whatever simple, automatic camera she used at the time (she normally didn’t want to use my SLR’s or DSLR’s if I wasn’t around – perfectly capable but didn’t want to bother to learn how to use them). She captured what I consider a “Kodak Moment”.I don’t think new digital terms apply well in this case. To be the new ubiquitous term, it has to feel (sound) good to the public. Besides, we use a lot of terms that no longer apply literally (e.g. David and Goliath…).I’m fine with someone coming up with a new term. Just haven’t heard it yet. More importantly, it has to become part of popular culture – recognizable by most everyone.

  2. Appreciate the thoughts, Phil. I hadn’t thought of it that way. Now that you mention it, I have heard it used in that context, as well as the context I was using — a shot worthy of kodak capture.Besides, as much as I would like to be credited with a catchy new phrase, maybe “Adobe Moment” just doesn’t capture that “special moment that cannot be re-created.” Heck, with PS, maybe you could have stitched two screaming brats together holding hands and made it look like the “kodak” moment.

  3. In this digital age, I think a "Photoshop Moment" says it best. Does it really matter if the photo was created with a camera or computer? A "Photoshop Moment" will keep everybody guessing.

  4. I liked Adobe because, like Kodak, it was the name of the company, rather than one of its products (smile)

  5. I like Al's term because though the phrase isn't yet ubiquitous, the software itself almost is.But it brings up something a bit troubling for me – and maybe the subject of another post – what constitutes a "photo"?I'm the first to tweak my digital photo – sharpen, take out facial flaws, etc. But when some use Photoshop to add items (the moon?) I wonder if it isn't stretching the concept a bit. In the darkroom days, we could affect contrast, exposure, but not content (practically). Now we can.Suggestion for the future – "When is a photo not a photo (but a compilation/creation)?" or "What is a photo?"Sorry, I digress…

  6. Hey there, Phil: Its a topic that has pretty much been beat do death on all the forums (and many blogs, I imagine)over the years. I probably won't devote a blog to it, other than perhaps a unique perspective on it which could come up. In my March 16 2008, "Get Real" entry, I came close.I think it depends on what you are doing (or purporting to do) with a photograph. I see nothing wrong with adding or subtracting elements from an image as long as you are not being "dishonest" in some way. Obviously, in news photography, evidence photography, certain scientific photography, there is room for lots of mischief. But in photographic "art" I don't see the mischief. Many will recall the trouble Art Wolfe got into for cloning zebras into a wildlife shot. To me, if he was try to "sell" to us that this is what he saw or what occurred in nature, it is troubling. If it is what his artistic mind "saw" and he is perfectly honest about it, I don't see the problem.Part of that discussion also centers on when it is appropriate to "disclose" things and when it really doesn't matter.You and Al are right. The term "photoshop" has certainly become ubiquitous. It is used, as often as not, as a verb. However, to me it also seems to have picked up a rather pejorative connotation the when something has been "photoshopped" that is something negative. I fear a "photoshop moment" may take on some of that same "stain of shame" (I sure hope readers here understand we are making light of this topic!)

  7. Good try, but I think I'll stay with "Kodak Moment", if only in hope of someday getting the reply: "What's a Kodak?":)

  8. Hi Mark: Good to "see" you again? Like your tongue-in-cheek reply 🙂

  9. Kodachrome is now going away – http://homepage.1000words.kodak.com/default.asp?item=2388083

  10. I am wondering, now that it is going away, if it will fade from the famous Simon and Garfunkel song, too 🙂

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