Jun 17, 2005

Kodak to Stop Making Black-and-White Paper

Source: FOX NEWS via AP

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Ending a century-old tradition, Eastman Kodak Co. (EK) will soon stop making black-and-white photographic paper, a niche product for fine-art photographers and hobbyists that is rapidly being supplanted by digital-imaging systems.

Kodak said Wednesday it will discontinue production of the paper, specially designed for black-and-white film, at the end of this year. But the world’s biggest film manufacturer will continue to make black-and-white film and chemicals for processing.

“It’s a shame to see it go,” said Bill Schiffner, editor of Imaging Business magazine in Melville, N.Y. “Digital has done a lot of good things for the industry but it’s done some bad things too. It’s making a lot of these processes obsolete.”

The paper is manufactured at a plant in Brazil. Kodak declined to specify how many employees would be affected by the production shutdown, which is part of a three-year overhaul to eliminate 12,000 to 15,000 jobs by 2007 and shrink the company’s work force to around 50,000.

As the industry shifts rapidly from chemical-based to digital imaging, demand for black-and-white paper is declining about 25 percent annually, Kodak spokesman David Lanzillo said.

John Eoff, owner of Photo-Lab Inc., said his 91-year-old shop in Schenectady, N.Y., still sells “a fair amount” of black-and-white paper to photography students and enthusiasts, while professional photographers have mostly gone to digital printing systems already.

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