The photo wars back then


  • Photo 1 of 9

    "Art photo studio: Closed due to retirement, Toronto, Ontario, 2005."

    - Robert Burley

  • Photo 2 of 9

    "Photo booth, metro station, Montreal, Quebec, 2010."

    - Robert Burley

  • Photo 3 of 9

    "Elsa Dorfman's Polaroid camera, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2009."

    - Robert Burley

  • Photo 4 of 9

    "Nathan Lyon's Darkroom, Rochester, New York, 2009."

    - Robert Burley

  • Photo 5 of 9

    "Attempted implosion of the Kodak-Pathe building GL, Chalon-Sur-Saone, France, 2007."

    - Robert Burley

  • Photo 6 of 9

    "Awaiting the implosions of Buildings 65 and 69, Kodak Park, Rochester, New York, October 6, 2007."

    - Robert Burley

  • Photo 7 of 9

    Detail of machine used to create 8" x 10" Polaroid film, Polaroid, Enschede, The Netherlands, 2010."

    - Robert Burley

  • Photo 8 of 9

    "Bags of photographic emulsion, Ilford, Mobberley, United Kingdom, 2010."

    - Robert Burley

  • Photo 9 of 9

    "Chemical mix room, Building 13, Kodak, Canada, Toronto, 2006."

    - Robert Burley
Image of Disappearance of Darkness: Photography at the End of the Analog Era
Author:
Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press (2012)
Binding: Hardcover, 176 pages

There's a little bit of a feud that's broken out online this week. Instagram, the photo sharing site that facebook paid a billion dollars to buy a couple of months ago, has decided it's not gonna let its pictures show up on Twitter.

There's a whole bunch of online he said she said goin' on here but the end result is something of a hiccup for online photo sharing.

And how we use and see photography.

But let me take you back to an earlier time, when you needed film and chemicals to see what you had. Analog photography is an industry that's all but dead -- a demise that Robert Burley has spent the past few years documenting in "The Disappearance of Darkness: Photography at the End of the Analog Era."

As a photographer, Burley says his most essential material, his film, came from photography giants like Kodak and Polaroid. At their height, these companies employed hundreds of thousands of people. Their office and factory complexes took up spaces the size of city blocks and were easily the tallest buildings in sight. Their legacy was built in a century, but lost in a decade. 

Many of Burley's photographs depict the actual desctruction of Kodak complexes in the United States, France and Canada. Others show anciliary buisnesses that have shut down -- the local photo processing shop or a small-town photography studio -- call them collateral damage.

Burley says when he started compiling the images for the book, it was obvious that the project would be done on film. "Within a space of six years, this technological transition has happened and run full cycle. I would say it's pretty much over by now."

He compares 2005 when "the Eastman Kodak company was ahead of Apple on the Fortune 500 list" to today when Kodak has declared bankruptcy and "Apple has created the device that is most popular for creating photographs. And it's also a phone, by the way."

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.
Image of Disappearance of Darkness: Photography at the End of the Analog Era
Author:
Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press (2012)
Binding: Hardcover, 176 pages

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