‘Pa-kodak’-A A +A
Friday, August 23, 2013
AN EERIE sense of feeling emerged in my consciousness when I read the Kodak story in the business page of Sun.Star Cebu yesterday.
The report said that the United States bankruptcy judge in New York had “approved the company’s plan to emerge from Court oversight, paving the way for (Kodak) to recreate itself as a new much smaller company (that) is focused on commercial and packaging printing.”
Most of us do not know what Kodak was. During its heyday, the firm’s name was taken by our people as synonymous with photography.
In the early days of the 20th century, the Cebuano term often used for the act of having our photograph taken was pa-kodak. As in, Kodak, the invention of American George Eastman in 1880 by his company called the Eastman Kodak Co
I recall that the average man of the street would call or order someone holding a Kodak camera to get his likeness, standing on a street side, or in a garden with flowers, or under the shade of a tall, spreading tree in the middle of a field. He also made sure that he was positioned not against the light, that is with the subject facing the light, or the sun fully lighting his face.
“Sigi, kodaki na ko,” one would shout to the companion holding the camera to aimed at him.
But really, I did not know that Kodak had sought protection against bankruptcy last year. I did not know nor did I realize that so prominent and so popular a company would be in financial trouble.
Kodak has been a success both industrially and commercially since the days when I became conscious of having my image reproduced by a camera, and the camera was always called Kodak.
It seems that during the past months, Eastman Kodak had lost its glamor and glory in the business world.
Observers from the business community noted that many of Kodak products and services were no longer marketable, “including the camera-making business that made it famous more than a century ago. Also gone are scores of workers, manufacturing facilities, supply contracts and millions of dollars in investment.”
With the advances in modern technology, the Eastman firm failed to adjust itself and catch up with the changes around it.
“Up until around 2005, Kodak was one of most recognizable brands in the world, and that’s now gone,” according to a photography professor from the Ryerson University in Toronto.
Today, the only real brand recognition it holds is as a failed company that was unable to make the transition from the 20th century to the 21st.
Indeed, Kodak has become a classic model for a company that could not keep up with the advances of modern technology. And such is a case that is said to have been suffered by many other commercial and industrial organizations of the globe, something that could also be true with people as with businesses.
It is deeply tragic past for people to be so considered, as it is for an institution like Kodak, too. But how should we all keep up with the fast changing environment of a continuously revolutionizing world?
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 23, 2013.