Kodak City documents former imaging giant's headquarters
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Kodak City documents former imaging giant's headquarters

Photo by Catherine Leutenegger, 2012.

Why did you choose to document Kodak and Rochester, NY?

As a member of what is probably one of the last generations to use film, I feel particularly affected by the upheavals the digital age has brought to traditional photography.

To document this (r)evolution, I have been investigating the medium and the context surrounding its production since the early 2000s. The result is a commemorative 'meta-photographic' project inviting reflection upon photography’s its past, present, and future. The initial stage of this exploration, the Hors-champ series, which began at studios and photo labs in western Switzerland, has been recognized with a number of awards. It gave rise to both an initial monograph and an opportunity to continue my project in New York City. 

During a six-month stay in New York in 2007, I immersed myself for a time in the city of Rochester - also known as Kodak City - in northeastern New York State, where George Eastman (1854-1932), a pioneer in the photography industry, founded Kodak in 1881. As I began the project, I focused on deciphering the ways digital technology’s rapid rise affected the world’s leading film manufacturer. How was the Kodak Group dealing with this technological upheaval?