May 11, 2006

Internet helps analog photography hold on

Source: Associated Press via USA Today
Written By Peter Svensson, AP

NEW YORK — With its market eviscerated by digital photography, Eastman Kodak last year stopped making black-and-white photo paper.

It was a loss most photographers could live with, except for a few who dreaded the loss of Azo, a paper with unusual characteristics that Kodak had made continuously since 1898. Other papers “just are not as beautiful,” said Michael A. Smith, a photographer who prints all of his work on Azo.

In another world, the few Azo adherents that were left might never have found each other. But through their website, Smith and his wife Paula Chamlee, also a photographer, pulled together almost a quarter of a million dollars from photographers and customers to finance production of an Azo-like paper at an old photographic plant in Europe.

“The place we’re having it done has one old guy who supposedly made it for Kodak in the 50s, and we were told that if he wasn’t there, it just couldn’t be done,” Smith said.

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