February 6, 2012

Kodak Moments

I grew up in the age of branding. Toothpaste was called colgate, never mind if you're at the sari-sari store looking for Close-Up. Our ref, a trusty old GE, was called frigidaire, and when we ran out of LPG the boy would lug the Shellane tank to buy "gasul." During brown-outs, we would prop up the petromax.

"Kodak," by far, was the brand that easily found its way to "genericity." Mang Diego, the school photographer, was the para-kodak, and when we had to have our pictures taken, we had to go to the studio kay mapa-kodak. Fuji, Agfa and Polaroid were unceremoniously dumped into one generic label: Kodak.

Alas, Kodak--the brand--is no more. Almost, that is. The recent news that Kodak Eastman had gone belly up was inevitable, considering that the world has gone digital. The last time I actually used film was six years ago, when my daughter turned one.

Of course, I have boxes and boxes of memories captured by Kodak--although at the time of the taking I didn't know they would be memories. My life thus far, in fact, is a catalogue of Kodak moments, from the black and whites to the grainy technicolor to the full color. I have memories of purging the more embarrassing parts, as well, watching idly as flames turned pictures into blotches of chemicals before reducing them to black powder.

Like everyone else who grew up with the brand, however, I feel a certain sense of loss. It's like the passing of an era, really. I felt the same when the last of the Polaroid factories closed down. Or when Sony announced that it would stop making the Walkman. Suddenly, I feel--ahem--creaky. And to borrow a word from my college days, terribly senti,. It isn't so much the brand itself as the romantic notions attached to it.

For the past weeks, I have been LSSing on this '70s song. I do thank Kodak for capturing the times of my life. As I'm sure you do, too.

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