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Kodak - a Color Disaster

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  • Kodak - a Color Disaster

    The general public remains unaware that ALL colored photographs including our most treasured, are doomed to early failure by fading or color degradation. Most people, unconsciously, expect the same permanence from color photographs that black and white photographs provide. Authoritive information, that has been available to museums and other archival agency since 1992, explains how quickly color film and photographs deteriorate and the complicated methods required for preserving historical pictures. The most damning information shows that the Eastman Kodak Company has deliberately misled the public so they could expand and preserve their market share of photographic products.

    "The Permanence and Care of Color Photographs" covering traditional and digital color prints, color negatives, slides and motion pictures, by Henry Wilhelm and Carol Brower is a free pfd file available at (This information is detailed and quite lengthy but most pertinent in the first chapter)
    The Wilhelm Imaging Research company is the recognized authority on this subject and is used by manufacturers to test and rate the longevity of photographic materials and products. For example, companies such as Epson, HP and Canon use Wilhelm Imaging Research to have their printers (ink) and photo papers rated (today these products can provide better archival properties than traditional photographic products).

    How bad is the problem?
    While B/W products remain stable for generations, most color films and papers today gradually fade and develop overall yellowish stain (whether they are kept on display or stored in the dark). In fact some Kodak products show marked deterioration in less than a year. Worse still, expensive Kodak "professional" paper used for portrait and wedding photographs have the same image stability as ordinary prints from a local drug store.

    There are a few specialty products that use expensive papers and dyes that have life expectancies beyond 100 years but the best solution for general photography is to switch to Fujicolor products that demonstrate vast superiority over Kodak products.

    In conclusion, one thing this information makes clear to me is that there is going to be a huge market for restoration of faded color prints as the public becomes aware of the problem.


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