Dramatis persona*

helenhead Helen Chick

I've always wanted a bumper sticker that said "I'm a female, LDS/Mormon, Scout leading, geocaching, piano-playing, bicycling, mathematics educator with a PhD in maths ... and I VOTE"!

I think this makes me a minority group of cardinality 1!

* Since there's only one of me and "personae" is plural (I think), I've gone with dramatis persona.
December 2022
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End of an era

It seems that the Kodak company is pretty much defunct.

Its film was such a fundamental part of my growing up. I had been given a little camera before my age hit double figures, and by my mid-teens I was shooting with Kodak slide film. In the years that followed — up until I fully converted to digital* in 2004 — I shot many rolls of film: mostly Kodachrome 64 which cost a fortune to buy because they were “process paid” in the price, and then I’d send them off once the film was exposed and wait a week for them to be posted back. I’d watch, with eagerness and anxious anticipation, for the tell-tale yellow box to come in the mail, never knowing, until the package arrived, exactly how the photos had turned out. I’d put each cardboard-framed image, with its characteristic Kodak logo, into a viewer so I could see how successful I’d been, and then I’d get Dad to set up his ancient projector (it was quite a while before I bought my own) so that I could inflict a slide show on everyone.

And, finally, I’d painstakingly catalog the slides in a couple of notebooks, giving them categories and ratings and dates**, with a running total of how many I’d taken (roughly 7000 by the time I stopped using slide film … the number isn’t more exact because the counting gets complicated at a couple of points).

There used to be a Kodak factory up in Coburg, not far from where I used to live in Melbourne, and I guess this is where my metal canisters of exposed film were turned into yellow boxes of mounted slides. Until recently I had a geocache hidden there to commemorate this fact (a plastic Kodak film container cache, of course), but the factory itself closed in 2005, and although there used to be a logo remaining on one of the buildings as late as 2007 (when I hid the cache and took the photo below***) even that is now gone, and the surrounding area is a new housing development.

So, times have changed, and the “Kodak moment” is no more.


* During my conversion I wasn’t entirely convinced that digital photos would ever match the depth and richness of colour that slide film had, but I couldn’t deny the convenience of instant feedback and near-unlimited shots that digital photography offered. For a while I was shooting both: my “good” camera was still using slide film for taking “real photos”, while I had a little digital camera — ironically one of the Kodak models — for taking “happy snaps”. Eventually it became obvious that the quality had become sufficiently good too, and I pensioned off my good film camera (although its lenses live on).

** Yes, I’ve been moderately obsessive-compulsive for quite some time … but the accuracy of this record has turned out to be very useful on occasions.

*** Ironically — but appropriately — the photo was taken with a Kodak digital camera.

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