Notes: Kodak Research Lab

change over in 85/86 caused disruption within KRL

John Capstaff at the Kodak Research Laboratory in Rochester from 1914 to 1918.

director of research Kenneth Mees

  • C. E. Kenneth Mees, From Dry Plates to Ektachrome Film; a Story of Photographic Research. (New York: Ziff-Davis Pub. Co., 1961).
  • Mees, From Dry Plates to Ektachrome Film, 293-301.
  • Journey: 75 Years of Kodak Research (Rochester, N.Y.: Eastman Kodak, 1989).
  • Robert L. Shanebrook, Making KODAK Film. The Illustrated Story of State-of-the-Art Photographic Film Manufacturing (Rochester, NY: Robert Shanebrook Photography, 2010).
  •  Carl W. Ackerman, George Eastman (Boston; New York: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1930); Elizabeth Brayer,
  • George Eastman: A Biography (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996).
  • Douglas Collins, The Story of Kodak (New York: H.N. Abrams, 1990).
  • Reese Jenkins, Images and Enterprise: Technology and the American Photographic Industry, 1839 to 1925 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1975).
  • Gary Jacobson, “KODAK: Research is in the Driver’s Seat,” Management Review 77, no. 10 (1988): 32- 32; J. D. Ratcliff, “Eastman Kodak’s Research Odyssey: Profitable Sidelines Add to Company’s Earnings from Photographic Products,” Barron’s, June 23, 1941, 3; Martin Sherwood, “Photographic Research in Focus,” New Scientist (February 8, 1973): 301-303.
  • E. Roy Davies, “Reports of Meetings. Scientific and Technical Group’s Second After-Dinner Lecture – 15 February 1962”, The Journal of Photographic Science 10, no. 4 (1962): 252-257.
  • G. B. Harrison, “The Laboratories of Ilford Limited,” Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series A, Mathematical and Physical Sciences 220, no. 1143 (December 22, 1953): 9-20.
  • Fritz Wentzel, Memoirs of a Photochemist (Philadelphia: American Museum of Photography, 1960).

Key Mees Books

  • Mees, C. E. Kenneth and John A. Leermakers. The Organization of Industrial Scientific Research. 2nd ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1950.
  • Mees, C. E. Kenneth and John Randal Baker. The Path of Science. New York: J. Wiley & sons, Inc., 1946.
  • Mees, C. E. Kenneth and Samuel Sheppard. Investigations on the Theory of the Photographic Process. London, New York, Bombay, Calcutta: Longmans, Green and Co, 1907.

Mees Bibliography

  • Mees, C. E. Kenneth. “Amateur Cinematography and the Kodacolor Process.” Journal of the Franklin Institute 207, no. 1 (1929): 1-17.
  • ———. Dr. C.E. Kenneth Mees: An Address to the Senior Staff of the Kodak Research Laboratories, November 9, 1955. Rochester N.Y.: Kodak Research Laboratories, 1956.
  • ———. “Fifty Years of Photographic Research.” Image, the Bulletin of the George Eastman House of Photography 3, no. 8 (1954): 49-54.
  • ———. From Dry Plates to Ektachrome Film; a Story of Photographic Research. New York: Ziff-Davis Pub. Co., 1961.
  • ———. The Fundamentals of Photography. Rochester N.Y.: Eastman Kodak Company, 920.
  • ———. “The Kodak Research Laboratories.” Proceedings of the Royal Society of London.Series A, Mathematical and Physical Sciences 192, no. 1031 (1948): 465-479.
  • ———. “On the Resolving Power of Photographic Plates.” Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series A 83, no. 559 (1909): 10-18.
  • ———. “The Organization of Industrial Scientific Research.” Science 43, no. 1118 (1916): 763-773.
  • ———. The Organization of Industrial Scientific Research. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc, 1920.
  • ———. “A Photographic Research Laboratory.” The Scientific Monthly 5, no. 6 (1917): 481-496.
  • ———. Photography. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1937.
  • ———. The Photography of Colored Objects. Rochester N.Y.: Eastman Kodak Company, 1919.
  • ———. The Photography of Coloured Objects. London: Wratten & Wainwright Ltd., 1909.
  • ———. “Planning a Research Laboratory for an Industry.” The Scientific Monthly 7, no. 1 (1918): 54-67.
  • ———. “The Production of Scientific Knowledge.” Science 46, no. 1196 (1917): 519- 528.
  • ———. “The Publication of Papers from Research Institutions.” Science 70, no. 1821 (1929): 502-502.
  • ———. “The Publication of Scientific Research.” Science 46, no. 1184 (1917): 237-238.
  • ———. “Recent Advances in our Knowledge of the Photographic Process.” The Scientific Monthly 55, no. 4 (1942): 293-300.
  • ———. “Research and Business with some Observations on Color Photography.” Vital Speeches of the Day 2, no. 4 (1935): 117-117.
  • ———. “The Science of Photography.” Sigma XI Quarterly 19, no. 1 (1931): 1-19.
  • ———. “Secrecy and Industrial Research.” Nature 170, no. 4336 (1952): 972.
  • ———. “The Supply of Organic Reagents.” Science 48, no. 1230 (1918): 91-92.
  • ———. The Theory of the Photographic Process. New York: The MacMillan Company, 1942.
grain, dev, chemists
haist; cube grain, d-23, etc
henn: tab grain, xtol, etc

Following Old Trails

following another’s footsteps makes you a tourist not a guide

Arriving Late

You may miss the plot, the arc of what came before, and think the ending is the story.


You begin in the footsteps of others; you walk behind them before you make your own path. you follow their path, retaking their footsteps, you learn how to do it: you follow the technical. the technical, if it’s amidol and azo, lead you into a narrowing market space; an expensive place in which you have to solve technical and  the economic, before you can set yourself free enough to solve your own problems; the problems that you define. This dalliance keeps the romance without requiring esthetic commitment. To keep yourself from realizing this, you rationalize the affair, calling it Printmaking.

The Printmaker Excuse

thinking that the problem to solve is just a printmaker one, your task becomes making yourself into a printmaker. this is codeword for saying you don’t have to have an image concept, an origin aesthetic; rely upon an aesthetic concept that’s been done. You can follow the prepared guidebook. Picture types come prepared with payment. you already know what you’re going to point the camera at. Maybe a rock, or sunset, a girl..

How bout a girl on a rock at sunset

massArtistsLF.001Unless you are a Carnie. Most long time participants in online photo forums limit their discussion to method and technique. They never understand this limits their growth. Carnie is one longtime dedicated participant. He serves as archtypical printmaker. As he notes: Now I just have to think of a subject.


Simple Complex

The simplified process of Weston becomes a complicated process without a manufacture. Mistaking the wand for the magic. No one bemoans the end of Weston’s light bulb, neither do they ask the type of contact frame used. Charis on a dune, with perfect drop shadow is more important than bulb, camera, developer, or paper. Translation is never better by reading a more accurate dictionary.

Take What You Need

Rather than taking from Weston the specifics, take the general, the bigger constant — work simply, but work a lot. Use what is at hand until it runs out. Then find another.

What Weston did was point his camera well. He, also, was first on the calendar; it was his footprint you saw on the dune. If you’re going to follow, follow the awareness, not the technical.  that is the artist’s move, not the salesman’s gambit.

References & Notes

early printing was platinum requiring contact prints, which he abandoned when it became scares and expensive. He switched to Azo and Amidol in California. [Newhall 1984, p. 110.]

  • weston bad portrait studio .. retail portraits need retouching . big neg makes easier
  • contact prints on slow paper
  • paper no longer produced
  • weston switches paper, but keeps camera
  • improves exposure quickly adopting Weston meter. more single negative exposures. cheaper, easier field work.. more images
  • At Pt Lobos he worked on the edge of the coast.. a long distant horizontal — down was detail, up was the line — the distance marker.

webionaire links AMIDOL CHLORIDE PAPER

[3 of 3: Nov 10, 17]