Kodak to Discontinue IR B&W Film? A Letter Writing Campaign Ensues

We recently received an email from photographers James C. Williams about his efforts to convince Kodak not to discontinue manufacture of HIE-135mm film. We reproduce his letter and plea for photographers to join his efforts to save this film.

Dear Fellow Photographers,

As you may be aware, Kodak has announced plans to discontinue manufacture and distribution of HIE-135 infrared film by the end of December 2007.

Below I have copied an email sent to Patrick Hamilton, Public Relations Director, Kodak CDG EAMER: patrick.hamilton@kodak.com Mr. Hamilton has encouraged me to write Kodak and is aware of this email campaign to save HIE-135. He has assured me that he will get the messages to the appropriate people. I ask you to please take a moment and write an email to Kodak. Copy my letter if you like, or simply "Please reverse plans to discontinue or delete manufacture and distribution of HIE-135 infrared film". Even if you never use film again, please consider those of us who do and make this tiny effort. Every email counts.

I have posted this message to Photo.net, APUG, The Infared Forum, flickr's IR group, and others. If any of you know of other forums I should post to please send me that information. Also if you know of any possible press exposure for the cause, that would be a big boost.

Please contact me at nighthawkjw@gmail.com. Thank you for your assistance. I know we can make this happen if we try!

James C. Williams

Dear Kodak,

This message is to be distributed to those responsible for the choice to delete or discontinue Kodak's HIE-135 infrared film. The purpose of this message is to persuade those people to reverse that choice.

Among the many applications of photography there is a unique type of film that produces very unusual photographs, infrared film. It's initial and major commercial purpose has been for scientific and security purposes. However, aside from these mundane applications, a much more visually appealing application is fine art photography using infrared film.

Many fine art photographers recognize the great benefits of using film and prefer film to digital. In the case of infrared photography, there are many people trying different approaches to using digital cameras, but that system has problems to be solved and the results are not nearly as good as those produced by HIE-135. Among other infrared films, HIE-135 is also unique and superior. The extended range of 900nm produces a greater sensitivity to the infrared spectrum, and the absence of an anti-halide backing makes it ideal for producing images evoking surreal and ethereal properties that no other film produces. No other film manufacturer producing infrared film today makes a film like HIE-135.

Discontinuing the manufacture and distribution of HIE-135 infrared film will mean that photographers like myself will have to compromise future bodies of work. It will mean that perhaps the best infrared photographer, Simon Marsden, who has dedicated 35 years to producing thousands of images on HIE-135, will have to either adapt or end his career now.

The responsibility of a creative medium for many people lies in this decision. It not only represents the choice to stop making a specific type of film, but is indicative of the future of all film. Kodak was responsible for the popularity of photography, and needs to be responsible for safeguarding the future of it as well.

-- Sincerely,
James C. Williams
Photographer specializing in infrared photography.