The Great Yellow Father & Licking A Canadian StampFriday, September 30, 2011
I have lived through dictatorships that became democracies that became military juntas. I have lived in one-party rules, flown in DC-3s and experienced with my own eyes real (young and beautiful) gum chewing real McCoy Pan American World Airways stewardesses while in a cabin of a beautiful Lockheed Super-Constellation. I remember the thrill of balancing a Kennedy Dollar on its edge on a table tray of a De Havilland Comet 4-C just to prove how vibration-less and smooth a jet airliner could be.
I have watched the Milky Way & the Southern Cross while riding in the back of a Studebaker pickup truck.
I remember driving through the flat desert in Coahuila, Mexico (I was a minor without a license) a 1956 Chrysler Imperial with a pushbutton Torqueflite transmission. I remember how I would purposely sit on the rear bumper of a 1955 Packard (also in Coahuila) that had some sort of electric leveling suspension. As soon as I sat the car would whirr downwards then whirr upwards and then level itself. Its owner would come out shouting at me that I was going to wear out the car’s battery.
I remember, not to long ago licking the back of a Canadian stamp.
And now I read of the possible bankruptcy of Kodak the erstwhile Great Yellow Father that did no wrong and could do no wrong.
|George Eastman, 1857. tintype|
I remember slapping on a Polaroid back to my medium format Mamiya RB-67 and watching the eyes of my subjects bulge when I produced a b+w print for them to take home in exactly 30 minutes (as long as it was 20 degrees Celsius) or a colour one after one minute (as long as it was 20 degrees Celsius).
The softboxes are now just about as ubiquitous as the instant replay on the back of digital cameras.
I recently received an admiring email from an American photographer who told me he liked my cowboy photographs and that he uses a Canon 7D to take “pics”.
It seems to me that my world began to collapse as soon as that term pics became the fashion as well as the demise of “taking or snapping” photographs and their replacement by the clinical sounding capture.
As I contemplate in what seems to be the unstoppable demise of Kodak and as it readies to meet its maker and be company with rusting DeSotos, Studebakers, Packards, Ramblers, Pontiac Venturas, Borgward Isabellas, Oldsmobile Achievas, and Mercury Turnpike Cruisers, I wonder what kind of expression my wife Rosemary might discern on my face as we sit watching CNN or the Turner Classics Movie channel while sipping a cup of soup.
Modern English in Kodak Technical Pan
Morelia, bolillos, tortas and Kodak-Tri-X
Kodak Ektachrome 100G & a Norman 200b
Kodak Plus-X 220 R.I.P
Kodak b+w Infrared and a post-literate moment with a ghost