Mark and Miah

I had the pleasure of photographing the mayor of Bloomington, Indiana, Mark Kruzan, and the Assistant Economic Development Director for the Arts, Miah Michaelsen, for publication. The B-Line Trail has seen steady growth and some pretty hip and happening development over the last couple of years and was the backdrop for our session.  It was a fun, quick, and relaxed shoot with them both. If you are looking to do some commercial or lifestyle work and need photography, drop me a line!

Mark Kruzan, mayor of Bloomington, Indiana | by Eric Rudd PhotographyMark Kruzan, mayor of Bloomington, Indiana | by Eric Rudd PhotographyMark Kruzan, mayor of Bloomington, Indiana | by Eric Rudd PhotographyMiah Michaelsen and Mark Kruzan, mayor of Bloomington, Indiana | by Eric Rudd PhotographyMiah Michaelsen and Mark Kruzan, mayor of Bloomington, Indiana | by Eric Rudd Photography

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An Open Letter to Ralf Gerbershagen of Kodak

Herr Gerbershagen,

Wie gehts? After three years of German in high school (many years ago) I’m afraid that might be the extent of our conversation in that language. So it’s probably best to continue in English.

First of all, congratulations on your new job.  I’m sure you have many exciting and interesting challenges ahead as you move forward in your new position. Kodak is a brand that has touched the lives of people throughout recent history and across the globe. That must be very exciting for you.

I’m writing in response to a recent video and interview with you posted on the +Kodak page of Google+.  During the interview you said, “We will continue the film business as long as there’s a profitable market out there. Film is still in demand. We’re happy to provide this … as long as it makes sense for us. And at the moment it makes sense for us.”

The interviewer goes on to say, “Given the trend lines you’ve undoubtedly been looking at, is this a business that has three years? Five years? Ten years? How long does this last?”

“You never know. Maybe next year there’s kind of a retro, how do you say ….”

“Like LPs?”

“That’s a good example. They are coming back right now.”

I agree with you that film is making a comeback. But within the photography community, certainly the professional community, there appears to be a resurgence like no other art/technology/medium has experienced before. Film shooters are a passionate bunch. We believe in the results we get from using your products. What concerns me about your comment above is it indicates that you might be out of touch with your customer. And frankly it worries me that the new head of a company that produces one of the finest film products available perceives its use as some “retro” experience.  Film can help shape how and what photographers create. It changes how we look at a subject/scene/experience. Film by its very nature creates an image that is somehow better than real life. (when applied with skill) I was a Grammy-winning audio engineer. While I can fully appreciate the sound quality of a great recording delivered on vinyl, the format had little impact on how I executed a recording (short of making sure the recording could be properly cut during mastering).

I would challenge you to begin a one-on-one dialog with your film customers. Ironically, on the Kodak Google+ page, there is a post saying that you personally were inviting people to the Kodak LinkedIn page to post comments and questions. I was encouraged by this, yet I wonder if anyone at Kodak has noticed that 1) currently all but 2 of the posts are about film and Kodak’s production of it and 2) no one from Kodak is participating in that conversation.  Personally, I would like to see Kodak Alaris begin an active conversation with the film community.  We are certainly a chatty, opinionated bunch. You will find thousands of people more than happy to tell you how great your products are. That would be encouraging to you, I’m sure. They will also have intelligent, probing questions, that would certainly be useful in continuing to support and develop your film products.  And most likely they would challenge you to deliver a concise, proactive message about the company’s plan for film long term.

Other companies would kill for the position that Kodak Alaris is in….a strong client base that is verbal and passionate about their product, virtually no competition, and HUGE brand awareness. Go ahead…I challenge you to task your social media folks with compiling and comparing the numbers on customer interaction between your film, apps, kiosks and other products. I think you will be quite surprised.

Better yet…come out and shoot some film with us.  When was the last time you photographed something with Kodak Portra 400? Seriously. There are many very talented photographers who would jump at the chance to share their love of your product by going out and shooting with you. Why not take a film workshop? At the bottom of the article you shared some of your passions… “a motorcyclist, he owns a Harley Davidson and a Triumph and said he has talked with local Kodak Alaris riders about doing a Finger Lakes bike tour later this year.”  Photographers organize trips like this all the time…all based around shooting film. Heck…many of us would love to come along with you to document your trip, teach you about film, and to connect with you and Kodak Alaris.

When was that last time, by the way?

Respectfully,

Eric Rudd

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  • Naomi K - Thanks for putting this out there, Eric! It’d be awesome for a company like Kodak to realize the potential of their fans!

    I shoot exclusively Kodak Portra 400 and TriX and cannot imagine how I’d feel to not have that ability!April 9, 2014 – 5:39 pm

  • Eric Rudd - Thanks, Naomi. The more I think about Mr. Gerbershagen’s comments the more concerned I become.April 9, 2014 – 6:25 pm

  • David Rogers - Kodak doesn’t need a voice! We the people who are so passionate about shooting cameras that use film, we are kodaks voice. What that voice needs is the body that will continue to allow us the use of a benchmark product that no digital camera could ever compare. In fact, they pale in comparison to the true beauty of film. Kodak needs to take a serious look at the relevant and true value of what made them such a force in the industry. Keep your focus on film. The voice will grow!April 9, 2014 – 8:48 pm

  • David Lingua - Great open letter, Eric. I hope Mr. Gerbershagen takes you up on the challenge and to heart with the suggestions. Excellent point about the retro framing (no pun intended) of film’s esthetic. While the folks at Lomography have taken a unique marketing approach, Kodak’s market is not about novelty. Here’s to grain!April 9, 2014 – 10:02 pm

  • Mary Gordon-Hagler - Please oh please keep manufacturing film… Film is true photography not digital hocus pocus!!!! Kodak is and always has stood for quality. Please don’t desert us !April 9, 2014 – 10:26 pm

  • Lynde alvarez - Bravo. I’m down with a bike tour. So long as we go medium format and I can bring my husband to steer the Triumph so I can shoot Kodak 160/ektar & tri x the entire way. Zing!April 9, 2014 – 11:19 pm

  • Marcus Kaufhold - Very good comments!April 10, 2014 – 1:45 am

  • Christiaan Phleger - Excellent points! I think Kodak should LOWER the price of film, I’d buy many more rolls than I already do.April 10, 2014 – 4:49 am

  • Stephen Schaub - You should be concerned about his comments. There are many good people at Kodak- I personally know many of them- but they always seem to miss the obvious… dialog with film shooters is a must and changing the perception that film is dead is paramount.April 10, 2014 – 5:26 am

  • Dimitri Paoadimitriou - I lived in Rochester NY for 8 years and have done Beta testing for Eastman Kodak Co for 11 years! So I’m very familiar with Kodak films! This testing happened during the height of the film era! Its very encouraging to see attempts to keep Kodak films alive as they are the most consistent of all films with very repeatable and predictable results alas very reliable! What most people in comparison fail to mention for digital marketing reasons is Kodak high resolution films tend to out-resolve digital given the fact also that film comes also in 8×10 inch sizes! That in its self requires a “mature” and experienced photographer to be able to really use them to the fullest potential but the results are worthwhile!During my testing I have never seen anything that resembles the Portra NC family of films! Please keep them coming as all my personal work is on Kodak film! Thank you Dimitri PapadimitriouApril 10, 2014 – 6:39 am

  • Eric Rudd - David, I agree with you in that the Kodak brand has a voice. I’m more concerned that the new leadership views one of their own products as somehow antiquated.April 10, 2014 – 10:03 am

  • Eric Rudd - A good friend of mine brought up a great point about film shooters. He doubts that the viewer looks at the work of a film shooter and thinks, “boy, does that look retro.”April 10, 2014 – 10:04 am

  • Eric Rudd - Amen.April 10, 2014 – 10:05 am

  • Eric Rudd - Lynde, I would get my bike license just to go on the trip. Much to my wife’s chagrin.April 10, 2014 – 10:07 am

  • Eric Rudd - Thank you, Marcus.April 10, 2014 – 10:07 am

  • Eric Rudd - Christiaan, I totally agree. I would as well. Part of the potential conversation with Mr. Gerbershagen would include (hopefully) making him aware of the film market. I don’t think he gets it yet. But I’m willing to be convinced otherwise.April 10, 2014 – 10:09 am

  • Eric Rudd - Granted, Mr. Gerbershagen just landed at his desk. It looked like the purpose of his trip to US Kodak was to assuage the concerns and fears of the employees here in the states. The next step is to address the concerns of their customers, and to acknowledge that we are not using film out of some sense of nostalgia.April 10, 2014 – 10:12 am

  • Eric Rudd - Dimitri, thank you for sharing your perspective. I have 40 rolls of Portra NC waiting to be used!April 10, 2014 – 10:14 am

  • Carl Socolow - There is a danger in allowing systems people and MBAs to make marketing decisions. They are not users of the product; particularly creative products. Sometimes qualitative considerations have to supersede quantitative decisions. In the long run it WILL pay off. The key word here being long run. Too often business decisions are made on short term cycles. As an avid user of Tri-X I will continue to buy it. On that you can rest assured.April 10, 2014 – 11:14 am

  • Eric Rudd - Carl, that is the point of my letter. In a perfect world, I would love it if he had as much enthusiasm and connection to film as he does with his Harley. I really hope he meets with his customers and listens.April 10, 2014 – 11:23 am

  • Nikki - Eric! This is SO Awesome!!! :) April 11, 2014 – 6:04 pm

  • Eric Rudd - Thanks, Nikki!April 12, 2014 – 3:23 pm

  • Lisa Anderson - Thank you Eric for saying what so many of might only think! You rock!April 13, 2014 – 10:50 pm

  • Eric Rudd - Thank you, Lisa. Hopefully soon we can get a public conversation started with Kodak.April 14, 2014 – 11:25 am

Art in the Tangible | aka Albums

Let’s face it, the last thing most of us need is more time spent in front of the computer.  Or iPad, or on our phones. Especially when friends come over to share a glass of wine and relive your wedding day with you.  Knocking heads while crowding around a tiny screen pales in comparison to passing around real photographs among the people you love.  I try to print as much of my personal work as I can.  And I encourage my clients to print their wedding pictures as well.  (I even include a set of printed proofs with my wedding packages.)  That’s why I jump for joy when a client decides on a custom wedding album.  I’ve spent the “down time” of winter (why does everyone think that wedding photographers have nothing to do between November and March??), fine-tuning my process of printing and assembling fine art wedding albums in-studio.  I think the results look amazing and I’m so excited to offer these products to my clients this year. I currently offer 10×10 couple’s albums in 20/30/40 page counts, and 5×7 or 8×8 parent’s albums in 20/30/40 page counts. Simply gorgeous! Many thanks to Stephanie and Brian for allowing me to share their albums.

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Stephanie and Brian | A Winter’s Wedding Tale

The first conversation I had with Stephanie and Brian was over Skype (isn’t technology great?). Together they spelled out their vision for their wedding…a classic, elegant, winter affair. We were blessed with a nice blanket of snow the day of the wedding….which complemented the scene so nicely. Stephanie and Brian live in London, and I think that English style influenced her decision to go with a royal-looking, sleeved wedding dress. Simply gorgeous!!!

Update:  I recently received a wonderful letterpress card from Stephanie and Brian…

Dear Eric, 

Thank you for helping us celebrate our wedding! The pictures you took are stunning and we couldn’t have asked for anything other than what you delivered. We are so grateful that you captured the elegance and spirt of the weekend – having all of those memories to look back on is priceless. Your professionalism and  expertise were truly appreciated and we hope to have the chance to work with you again. All our thanks and best wishes, Stephanie and Brian

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To view the entire event and order prints, click here.

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  • Randi - These are just beautiful. What is the b/w film you used? Just gorgeous.April 15, 2014 – 1:17 pm

  • Eric Rudd - Hi Randi, thank you for the kind words. The “getting ready” shots and a good portion of the reception were Kodak TriX film. The ceremony was digital. Thank you for the question!April 18, 2014 – 9:58 am