Dead Cat Bounce: Tetenal

In 2018, Tetenal failed causing the photo-world to shimmy and shake. Was this the end, or just a climax in a potboiler.

Tetenal came back only to fail again in 2023. This is the way at the end of life. The crash is never complete; until there is no where else to fall.

Chemistry is the profit of the chemical photography business. Emulsions are there so that chemicals will be bought, used, and replaced. Cameras are there for the lenses and films, etc. No chemical means no chemical darkroom; means no paper. The way is clear. It is just lost in the fog of romantic versions of truth. Few want to admit they are on a dead horse; fewer will put that horse down.

This is not a work-horse, it is only a hobby-horse, as such it will not last. Farriers live because horses don’t have to be made, they do the work themselves, unlike emulsions and XTOL.

Reportedly, Tetenal spent about €500,000 (~$574,000) to acquire the license to produce CD3 and CD4 color developers — and apparently they split the bill with Fuji to save money. That is one of the reasons why Unicolor chemistry, for example, is not available in the E.U. No small company or startup could afford such certification and thus Tetenal is the only manufacturer of CD3 and CD4 within the European Union.

<< from 2018 report of Tetenal’s death.

Kodak relied upon Tetenal for Xtol, HC-110, and ECN chemicals.

Why the company failed with full orders, even backorders… the hopeful thought it would be brought back to life, since there is so much vigor in the “recovering analog community” — like alcoholics giving each other bad advice over bad coffee.

It failed again because there aren’t enough multiples of profit in each sale, and there aren’t sufficient sales to maintain a fully managed industry. Gas stations on the interstate make more money in a quarter than Kodak+Ilford make in a year. Fujifilm is the only company that is built upon a large profit foundation; that is from other sectors of its well managed organization.

Adox is claiming, hoping with that claim, that their ability to maintain chemical making will sustain them. This as they also seem to regularly acknowledge that there is little profit in BW paper. Profits from their chemistry funds their research and development of other product lines (assuming color film).

The arc has been clear for more than a decade: people use roll film intending to scan it. Some are beginning to see the other way.

— If I need a camera for film AND a digital camera to scan that film…. why don’t I skip the mechanical/chemical step, going directly to the digital camera?

Might just be bragging rights. Some claim to life-forces unseen. Anyway, people continue to pray for anther Dead Cat Raising.

Judith Joy Ross: Threading

One thing becomes another. Or, nothing comes first. If you can’t do it where you are …. how far from seeing are you?

Ross, Fink, -> Connor[Halsman] -> Pennsylvania/location, distances, differences

my own travels among ideas isn’t a clean map, more like my deskside stack of colored notes made on impulse. Keeping myself involved with some unknown ghost. My linking line above is my reminder of what to do in this post.

I wrote about JJR. Just a notice of her show in Philadelphia. A show that I will not see, yet wanted to remember for some possible future [thing]. She does what I don’t, in an area that I knew.

People. Place. Time. What imaging things, including cameras, share. Beyond “light,” something all visual arts consider, are the subject becoming the object. Much of photography is about people, place; so much so that software programs default to these categories. How much does place mean to a people; how much do people mean to a place. Those interactions always trigger me. As I look at pictures made by other skilled artists, I’m hoping to find some part of that response.

It is common for photographers to think a long journey is needed. Much of the time this is a long journey for more take-out — they can’t find nourishment where they are. What makes them think the food is better at another roadway. Probably because they are midway on a journey; a journey using someone else’s map.

Judith Joy Ross hasn’t travelled a great distance. She lives within easy drive of her birthplace. She is fortunate to have been to MoMA. Szarkowski included her work in New Photography exhibition at MoMA(1985)

Judith Ross and Larry Fink live within a half-hours drive, in a section of Pennsylvania that changes little. Larry Fink is better known for his Street Work, stuff from a different place; a place that makes distinct time marks upon people. They dress for their part in the culture. Wall street during Vietnam looks the part.

Judith Joy Ross born 1946. Moore College of Art and Design 1964. Masters from Institute of Design 1970. 1984, shows Szarkowski portfolio. In 1985, takes part in New Photography exhibition at MoMA. 1993, the SFMOMA presents personal exhibition of hers.

Looking at the Ross portrait, by Lois Connor, on SFMOMA webpage took me to Connor’s info. Lois Conner received her BFA in photography from the Pratt Institute. At Yale University, where she received her MFA in 1981. She credits Phillippe Halsman, her The New School teacher.

Bringing me to this 1961 Halsman on the “Creation of Photographic Ideas,” six rules:

  • the rule of the direct approach
  • the rule of the unusual technique
  • the rule of the added unusual feature
  • the rule of the missing feature
  • the rule of compounded features
  • the rule of the literal or ideographic method
  • In his first rule, Halsman explains that being straightforward and plain creates a strong photograph.

I do take many trips; many that don’t get me to a rest place.

If you live broadly and are curious about it all, you understand what it is about us that draws us together. It’s that kind of picture that I really like to make.
—Larry Fink

It’s such an intense pleasure to photograph strangers because, in that moment, you can see them in such an intimate way. It’s kind of crazy, but I love some of those people even though I have never seen them again.
—Judith Joy Ross