Photographer Mark Maziarz - Interviewed!!

Back in December I totally blogged about the 2017 APA Awards and promised an interview with Mark Maziarz. Maziarz won in the corporate category with a gauzy dreamy strange portrait that seemed too beautiful to be placed on the same shelf as high school senior wallet-size-prints and JC Penneys churn-and-burn type 8x10s. He said he'd respond to my questions but he was busy. Then came the holidays. Then came the cold long winter and finally we reconnected and created the thoughtful goods.

(Ian Tuttle): How long have you been making a living with your photography?

Mark Maziarz: I got my business license in the fall of 1990, so it's been almost 28 years now. Wow. It doesn't really seem like I've spent more than half my life in photography, but that might be because my work is constantly evolving. I tend to shoot the things that I'm most interested in at any given point in my life. For example, when I first moved to town, my friends and I skied a lot (106 days my first year in Park City) and some of them loved to throw themselves off big cliffs. I was always there with my camera.

Tom McDonald flies off a cliff band below Jupiter Peak, Park City Mountain. 1990. Photo © Mark Maziarz

After the extreme sports phase, I started to appreciate how beautiful the town of Park City is and I spent most of my time shooting local scenes and streetscapes.

Clearing rain storm on Park City's Main Street. Photo © Mark Maziarz

The last few years, as we raise our kids, I've grown to appreciate the value of people, their stories and relationships. That's when I came up with this style of portraits. One of my favorite aspects of getting these portraits is hanging out with the subjects and getting to know them a little bit. The camera gives me license to ask questions that I probably wouldn't ask in ordinary circumstances.

"Salt Lake City bookseller Ken Sanders was one of our first subjects with my hybrid style of portrait camera." Photo © Mark Maziarz

 

What is the most recent personal project you’ve finished that you are proud of?

I like when there is a blurry line between personal and paid projects. The Sundance One Minute Portrait Series started out as a personal project, and then morphed into a real job with a local TV station. The project got its name from the reality of the packed schedules that the Sundance Film Festival filmmakers, crew, subjects and cast have during the 10 days of the festival. If I have a full minute to photograph someone, I usually consider myself lucky. A lot of times, I only get 20-30 seconds to greet them, tell them what I'm doing, pose them and get the image. Spike Lee took a particular interest in the camera and the process, and we talked for a few minutes, which was nice. He wanted a print, so he wrote down his address on a piece of paper for me. Later that day, when I copied his address, I flipped over the sheet to see that it was his publicity schedule for the day. It was non-stop, back to back interviews and appearances for the movie he was producing. All day, every day for about 4 or 5 days in a row. I think there was something like 70 or 80 appointments on the schedule. Realizing how hard all these people worked to promote their films made me want to do something unusual and different when I made their portraits.

Technically, I don't think the project is finished yet, but it is evolving.

Spike Lee, Producer of Cronies. Photo © Mark Maziarz

 

 

Do you photograph every day?

I don't. And I struggle with this a bit. One reason is that Jay Maisel, whose work, personality and style I'm a big fan of, insists on carrying a camera almost everywhere he goes. He says photographers should be constantly shooting. I like the idea of shooting everyday, but I also think of the act of photography as being a bit sacred and I don't want to do it just to do it. Back in the film days, people used to be a bit more deliberate in what they shot, and I miss that a little bit. I have a lot of crap to wade through in all the digital files I've shot over the years.

 

 

What would you tell your past self on year one of starting your photography business?

That's a tough one. I feel like I've had a pretty good run, so I don't want to mess with the formula too much. Photography has got me to the places I wanted to go (literally and figuratively) and I'm thankful for that. There are some adages that apply to life like "don't sweat the small stuff" that I think will mess with a successful photography career. Clients like to see you pay attention to small details and very often a tiny gesture will make a photo. A slight turn of the hand or a slight facial expression can make or break an image.

 

 

What would you tell your future self ten years from now about running your photography business?

Did I spend too much time on preparing stock files for distribution in the 2010s? A big part of my career was stock photography in the 90s and early 2000s. Then the growth of microstock in the mid-2000s and the recession in 2008 combined to make stock photography an impractical way to make a good living.

 

 

Your images are “soft.” Why? How did this look evolve? Where did it come from?

I did a fine art show called "geolines" in 2012-2013. It was abstract photography that studied how much digital information is needed to still evoke an emotion in a photograph. The geolines photographs are bands of color and tone that are based on photographs that are as little as .01 megapixels.

"Infinity C" from the geolines series. Photo © Mark Maziarz

That show was a response to the precision and ever-increasing megapixel counts of digital cameras. I felt like digital cameras had become too perfect with an almost hyper-realistic sense of reality, so I responded by seeing how lo res and imperfect I could make a photograph be.

But I missed photographing people and I started thinking about imprecision and softness in portraiture. I've always liked the look of Matthew Brady-era portraits, so I found an old Civil War lens on ebay and built a camera around it that allows me get a short depth of field look, but output a digital file.

Zafod Beatlebrox. Tinkerer. Photo © Mark Maziarz

 

Do you experience doubt in your work? 

Oh hell yeah. I think it's part of being an artist. In life and work, I think we need the lows to truly appreciate the highs. Life would be boring otherwise, wouldn't it? I've recently started a personal project of portraits of artists in the Park City area. I'm combining the portraits with interviews and one of my key questions is how does confidence affect their work. I'm learning some interesting ideas.

 

 

Describe your workspace.

For about 14 years, we lived in a part of Park City that was a fringe neighborhood surrounded by open space and filled with huge spruce, fir and aspen trees. It was quiet and quirky and we loved it. Because the neighborhood was so steep, our garage was down at the street a bit separated from the house. Soon after we moved in, I came up with the idea that I could turn that upper level of the garage into a sweet office, so I dropped the upper level floor and added a big dormer and gave myself one of the coolest work spaces I've ever seen. It was heavenly. All I could see out the windows was the forest and sky. I even had a bear greet me on the deck one morning. It was about a 15 second commute from our front door, but the physical separation from the home was everything. A few years ago, we moved into a new house in an adjacent neighborhood that is way better in every way, except I now work in the house and no longer have my sweet carriage house office. It's not a great situation, so I have a number of ideas saved so I can design my new workspace in the woods.

 

Name three people who continue to help you along your way. What do these people do to help?

My wife Mary Beth is a performing songwriter. We're in apparently completely different businesses, but there are many similarities between music and photography. Hiring, licensing, copyright infringement, motivation, creation and more. We get to help each other out, while maintaining a fresh perspective. Invaluable.

My parents live 1200 miles away and have had way different careers. They're my life coaches -- offering great insight and tips on how to hand handle life, including the work/life balance.

The third spot is filled in by various photographers depending on what type of photography I'm concentrating on. Lori Peek is a local photographer who has done wonderful work in the active lifestyle category and she's helped me, particularly in the early years of my career. I've also taken a few workshops with Jay Maisel and got to know him over the years. I love his concepts of light, color and gesture.

 

Thank you Mark for your time and insight!

 Mark's winning portrait from the  APA Awards gallery.

Mark's winning portrait from the APA Awards gallery.

Sue Taylor for Cannabis Now Magazine

Last fall I had the pleasure of meeting and photographing Sue Taylor for a feature in Cannabis Now Magazine.

Sue Taylor in Cannabis Now by Ian Tuttle
CBD Oil for Cannabis Now - Ian Tuttle

Sue was a gracious and warm subject. Thanks to photo editor Gracie Malley for the assignment, and also for enough lead time to allow me to shoot on film. The black and white portraits were made with my Speed Graphic 4x5.

: )

 

Travel Snaps

Two cities, two days. I shot in Seattle and then Albuquerque back-to-back and managed to sneak in a few frames between jobs. Looking at them now, I see the distance I sometimes feel traveling alone in someplace I'm not familiar with.

 Sandia Crest, NM

Sandia Crest, NM

 South Ship Canal Trail, WA

South Ship Canal Trail, WA

 Old Town Albuquerque, NM

Old Town Albuquerque, NM

 Lake Washington Ship Canal, WA

Lake Washington Ship Canal, WA

 Sunset over the Cascades, WA

Sunset over the Cascades, WA

The jobs were very social (I can't post them as they haven't published yet)... meeting and getting to know people quickly, making sincere friendly portraits and candid at-work photos, and I think these shots here are the introverted relaxation in between. Yin and Yang / Chaos and Order.

APA Awards

One of my photos won an APA Award this year! This is a big deal, and I'm honored. The image came from my coverage of the 2017 Tour d'Azerbaijan pro cycling race in May. I was brought on by Team Illuminate to provide daily updates as well as an image library for long-term use by the team and to promote the team's sponsors. It was a dream job.

 Race fans in Ismailli, Azerbaijan, 2017. ©Ian Tuttle

Race fans in Ismailli, Azerbaijan, 2017. ©Ian Tuttle

These kids were scrounging for water bottles and other souvenirs at the end of Stage 2. I sat in the team car while the team's director bought sandwiches for the riders. I was exhausted, having spent the last five hours leaping in and out of the car, lugging two massive DSLRs around, helping sort rain gear for the riders, food and water, and, since I was riding shotgun, keeping track of which teams were in the lead, which were threats, how the Illuminate riders were doing, etc etc, while the team director pushed our loaner Skoda to its limits to keep up with the peloton (and ha ha ha, meanwhile a couple hundred pro cyclists turned their legs inside out to race their bicycles at full throttle, but how can you ever really know anyone's discomfort but your own?!). Anyway, these young fans were non-stop heckling me for something, anything, and I had nothing to give them but they would not relent. I rolled up the driver side window and they pushed it back down. I ignored them and they only screamed louder. I aimed my camera at them with full-power flash and dialed it in to 9 fps in hopes that the blinding light would spook them, and it did not, but this resulting image makes me smile every time I see it.

The APA produces a sweet book with all of the winners:

 The 2017 APA awards book.

The 2017 APA awards book.

 Inside the 2017 APA awards book.

Inside the 2017 APA awards book.

Honestly, the best part about being awarded is having my work printed alongside some truly stunning images by world renowned photographers. I wanted to learn a little more about some of these images, and reached out to the photographers behind a few of my favorite shots in this years' winners circle:

Elisha Knight

 Elisha Knight's portrait of Andrea Calvetti. Image © Elisha Knight

Elisha Knight's portrait of Andrea Calvetti. Image © Elisha Knight

I love this portrait. The cool snowy background, the deep red leather vintage car seats, Andrea's sprawling lounging comfort, the way the light makes his left hand look skeletal and keeps his face kind but still remote, the clothes... it's an image that presents more questions than it answers. I asked Elisha about it and she filled in some more details:

"The lighting and colors in the image really add to the mood... it is a perfect representation of Andrea himself, an Italian man who is enamored by American Culture."

"When I photograph people I try to capture their subtle nuances in the most honest way possible... Andrea is an insanely talented photographer and cinematographer born and raised in Italy. He moved to Chicago a few years ago, fell in love with America, which led him to purchase a beautiful 1960's Buick Electra to drive around the country." Elisha initially photographed him in the driver's seat, but "this didn't feel strong enough and felt a little cliche. I knew I wanted to get more of the car in the shot so I moved him to the back seat and played around with various angles, compositions, and focal lengths there. We landed on a wide, cinematic shot and were done."

See more of her work on her website.

Elisabeth Caren

This image caught me right in the heart, with it's dreamy tones, the lush flowers, and most of all, that expression.

 Elisabeth Caren's winning entry in the Personal Projects category. Image © Elisabeth Caren

Elisabeth Caren's winning entry in the Personal Projects category. Image © Elisabeth Caren

This image is part of Elisabeth's series called "Double Identity," which flips the traditional male/female relationship roles as they were portrayed in Noir films from the 1930s and 40s. It's a stunning series, and has been recognized around the world in multiple art shows, exhibitions, and awards. I asked Elisabeth about the project and she had this to say:

"The basic idea is that there were other relationships besides heterosexual ones in the past... but we would never know it based on the films of the era..."  In this frame "the subject is a character who is the 'housewife' who can't believe her life is what it is...while she is doing an everyday activity she normally does - cutting her roses to put in a vase on the dining room table - and starts to space out thinking of how unhappy she is, how confused, terrified, lost she is because she suddenly has been awakened to the feeling that she will never be able to be 'herself...'"

Elisabeth started her career shooting production stills on tv and film sets, which directly inspired the look and feel of this project. Elisabeth's website is here.

Mark Maziarz

I do a lot of corporate portraiture. It spans the gammut from super-drab company-guidelined gray backdrops to truly fun and creative editorial-style portraiture. Mark's winning entry in the Corporate category caught my eye because it is a headshot with a twist. There's a dreamy, gauzy, quality to it that sets it apart from any other "corporate headshot" I've seen.

 Mark Maziarz' corporate headshot won in the "Corporate" category. Image © Mark Maziarz

Mark Maziarz' corporate headshot won in the "Corporate" category. Image © Mark Maziarz

I asked Mark about it and he promised to answer my questions. I am still waiting!! So, as soon as the holidays wear off, and I get a response, I'll post a Q & A with him that should be worthwhile.

 

It is crazy to single out just three among all the great frames in this year's APA Awards. And every time I page through them new images jump out. Take a look through the gallery and try to pick your own favorites and you'll see what I mean!

Great Hiking Trails!

A while back I was car-camping at various spots along the Pacific Crest Trail making large-format portraits of through-hikers. One evening a storm blew in. Lightning crashed down and the sky turned purple and I took a few photos on my trusty old Yashica-mat before dashing into my truck for shelter.

One of those storm photos made its way into this new book Great Hiking Trails of the World, by Karen Berger, published by Rizzoli, celebrating epic hikes around the world.

 Great Hiking Trails of the World - a coffee-table portal to various hard-earned heavenly views.

Great Hiking Trails of the World - a coffee-table portal to various hard-earned heavenly views.

If you flip to page 292 you can see that stormy sky I was talking about, moments before the hail hit.

 Page 292 of Great Hiking Trails of the World!

Page 292 of Great Hiking Trails of the World!

I have to thank Jack Haskel, who connected me with Rizzoli as they sourced images for the book. Jack is the Trail Information Manager for the Pacific Crest Trail Association. His job as I understand it is to backpack around and tell people about how amazing life on the trail is. (There may be more to it, but when I imagine him going to the "office" I just see trees and dirt.)

I'll part with this self portrait I took in the back of my truck as the hail got truly fierce. I'll not bother to re-scan it or clean it up, so the dust specks and color shifts are here to stay.

 Yours Truly, hiding from the hail.

Yours Truly, hiding from the hail.

In sum, the book is beautiful. I recommend it as a holiday gift.

Big, Big Sur

Weekend travels to Big Sur. I borrowed a little Fuji point-and-shoot for the trip and had fun playing with it. : )

 Glen Oaks.

Glen Oaks.

It rained non-stop. So much so that Highway 1 slid in four places. We had booked lodging further South but with the road impassible, we changed plans and stayed in a small riverside cabin at Glen Oaks.

It was cozy. There was a noise machine next to the bed with all the usual settings, including "rain," which was funny while the rain fell all night and made a joyful racket on the roof.

 Leland leaving the cabin.

Leland leaving the cabin.

 Glen Oaks cabin.

Glen Oaks cabin.

 Jellies at Monterey Bay Aquarium

Jellies at Monterey Bay Aquarium

My favorite animal is the octopus. I spent almost an hour waiting for him to unglue himself from the glass, but he never did. So I photographed the jellies instead. Borderline cliche in their drifty beauty, still remarkable.

 Typical Carmel Abode

Typical Carmel Abode

In Carmel we wandered the neighborhoods. The houses are whimsical, of course.

 Canada Verde Creek, Half Moon Bay

Canada Verde Creek, Half Moon Bay

Stopped by the Ritz in Half Moon Bay to walk on the beach, and had an old-school lunch at Miramar Beach Restaurant.

Great White Sharks

Took a shark dive in Hermanus, South Africa and learned a few things! Great White Shark teeth are basically arranged like an escalator; as soon as one's gone another rotates up into its place. They go through 1,000 teeth a year. But get this... Great White Shark skin is actually made of teeth. Dermal Denticles. I kid you not.

 The chummer pours fish guts behind our boat to attract Great Whites.

The chummer pours fish guts behind our boat to attract Great Whites.

And yet, every marine scientist will assure you that Great Whites are not particularly dangerous to people. "More people die from toasters than from shark attacks each year!" They say.

 These people are seasick. I don't think they saw any sharks at all.

These people are seasick. I don't think they saw any sharks at all.

Also, Great White Sharks have a sixth sense. Their snouts are covered in Ampullae of Lorenzini pores, which sounds like a problem, and it is, if you are swimming near a Great White Shark, because we all have a little electric charge, and the gel in these Lorenzini pores registers electrogradients as minute as a billionth of a volt across a centimeter. I'm no electrician, but that's shockingly sensitive. In fact, sharks are the most sensitive electrical sensors on Earth. They are more sensitive than any other living creature, and they are more sensitive than humanity's most advanced equipment.

 This guy is betting his life on this garden fencing.

This guy is betting his life on this garden fencing.

The water here is about 54 degrees F. Cold enough to make you wish for a toaster. We put wetsuits on and got in this cage and waited for sharks to come check out a giant ball of fish-heads tied to a rope that the chummer was throwing around.

 This is the boat for high IQ people who don't muck around with wetsuits and underwater cages. They came to watch our expert chummer work his magic.

This is the boat for high IQ people who don't muck around with wetsuits and underwater cages. They came to watch our expert chummer work his magic.

Sharks are very curious, because they are very hungry. They will check out anything that is moving or bleeding or electrical in nature to see if it can be eaten. Especially if it's a giant ball of fish-heads!

 Our expert chummer got his ball of fish-heads stuck inside a Great White Shark.

Our expert chummer got his ball of fish-heads stuck inside a Great White Shark.

Great White Sharks average 15 feet in length, and can weigh up to 4 tons. That is equivalent to 3,600 toasters. Thankfully for our chummer, he is harnessed to the boat. Finally the shark let go of the fish-head ball.

 Still seasick, but handsomely so.

Still seasick, but handsomely so.

I didn't get an underwater camera because there's a sign at my photolab that makes fun of people with underwater cameras and I don't want them to judge me. So, I don't have any photos of the sharks underwater. I can tell you and you should believe me that it was one of the most memorable things I've ever done. These sensitive monsters would just crash into the cage, rubbing their skinteeth along the bars, and you're just eye to eye, a few inches away. Unbelievable.

 Cleaning seasickness off the boat back at shore.

Cleaning seasickness off the boat back at shore.

One last true fact about Great White Sharks. A mama shark holds 10-12 little babies in her uterus. But she only gives birth to one or two. BECAUSE THE STRONG BABY SHARKS EAT THE WEAK BABY SHARKS IN THE WOMB! Seriously efficient natural selection. Great Whites, after all, are at the pinnacle of the marine food chain. Also, take dramamine.

Weekend Snaps

Last weekend at a picnic for my friend's birthday.

Volley

Volley's mission: "to computationally understand and teach the world's academic knowledge within a decade." My mission: create compelling photos for their website. Specifically: personal, non-stock-photography content that shows them at work -- images with personality that attract new talent to the team.

We took care of headshots at my studio, then I visited them at their temporary (now upgraded) offices for a few action shots.

And some screenshots from their website:

Kodak: the Apple of the Apple State

I got started with photography using a Nikon 35mm slr that I bought used at a camera shop in Wyoming. I learned to develop and print in the Center for the Arts in Jackson, WY, after hours, thanks to a good friend who also happened to manage the darkroom. We'd listen to Manu Chao and print until the early morning. It was just a hobby then, and I had no idea I'd be a full-time photographer some years later. My point is, film has always been important to me. If my clients have the budget and patience for it, I always suggest shooting on film. I'm not into retro anything and I'm not on some high horse (or hipster schooner), I just like how it looks. I like how it acts with light.

I use a lot of different brands and types of film, but the two in top rotation are Kodak Tri-X for black and white, and Kodak Portra 400 for color. I love them. So while I was in Rochester, New York, over Christmas, a visit to Kodak founder Mr Eastman's house was definitely in order.

George Eastman House. photo: Ian Tuttle

Back home in San Francisco, there are a lot of headquarters for companies that are global juggernauts... Facebook, Apple, Google, Twitter, Uber, etc. These companies offer products and services that shape the day-to-day lives of billions of people around the world. While touring the Eastman House and learning about Kodak's founder, I kept thinking about Steve Jobs and Apple. With its iconic branding, coveted products, and streamlining of difficult technology for everyone's enjoyment, Apple strikes me as a modern-day equivalent to Kodak. Much ado has been made about Steve Jobs (ie 1, 2, 3), and I have no basis to compare his character to that of Mr Eastman's, since I never knew either man, but there are some interesting similarities between the two companies.

A portrait of George Eastman in the George Eastman Museum. photo: Ian Tuttle

Eastman thought about photographs and cameras the way Steve Jobs thought about music and computers. When Eastman started, photography was arcane and difficult. There were fragile glass plates involved, and toxic chemicals, and pitch black darkrooms. It was 1880. People didn't want to deal with that crap. Eastman began his company by selling prepared dry plates (what the hell are those, right?) but knew he needed to simplify this obscure, technical, complicated medium in order to bring it to the masses. By 1888 he'd figured out a new way of doing things, and the slogan for that first Kodak camera was, "you push the button, we do the rest." You'd buy a Kodak camera with film already loaded, shoot your pictures, then mail it in. Your film was developed, printed, and your camera returned to you loaded with fresh film. So easy! Kodak invented roll film, then film that could be loaded and unloaded without a darkroom, then motion picture film, then Super 8 for making your own movies at home, (they even developed a top-secret hand grenade for the nascent CIA during World War II). All of these inventions simplified difficult processes for the masses (even the grenade! It was modeled after a baseball to give young American soldiers a familiar throwing experience).

Kodak's hand grenade... the top secret T13 Beano. Image courtesy CIA.

A century later, in 1984, the Macintosh computer debuted without a programmable language, meaning, you didn't really get under the hood of it... you just plugged it in, and all that arcane code showed up as a clean, familiar, visual "desktop." So easy! It was the result of Jobs' desire to simplify the messy personal computing process.

 The original Macintosh, circa 1/24/1984. Image credit: "Macintosh 128k transparency" by w:User:Grm wnr - Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons.

The original Macintosh, circa 1/24/1984. Image credit: "Macintosh 128k transparency" by w:User:Grm wnr - Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons.

Another big similarity between the two is their mad genius for branding. KODAK is a made-up word. Mr Eastman intuited that a strong brand could bring huge success to his young company, and in 1888 he created the iconic name while playing anagrams with his mom. He wanted a name that would be easy to pronounce in many languages, that would sound enduring, and not resemble anything else. Eastman is quoted as saying K "seems a strong, incisive sort of letter," a "letter that stands on its own two legs." The Kodak logo was the first ever corporate logo that integrated it's name with an immediately recognizable symbol, and the colors yellow and red became a constant. In 1996 the Kodak brand was considered the 5th most valuable brand in the world.

 Kodak logo circa 1987, from Kodak.com

Kodak logo circa 1987, from Kodak.com

"Apple Computer Logo rainbow" by Rob Janoff, circa 1987

Look at those logos! Even right now, today, in 2016, both of these decades-old logos resonate!

Jobs also understood the power of brand. He told his designer, Rob Janoff, to make something "not too cute" that would be simple and bold. The 1984 launch of the Macintosh was announced with a now famous $1.5 Million Ridley Scott-directed television ad during the superbowl. The Apple brand, today, is widely considered to be one of the top five most valuable brands in the world (the most valuable brand, depending on who you ask). Both Kodak's and Apple's products were revolutionary. Their branding and advertising were similarly so.

And now, Eastman and Jobs are both gone. Eastman's health started failing around 1930, and he grew increasingly infirm. He couldn't work anymore, and had trouble walking, and in 1932 he shot himself in the heart. He left a suicide note that said: "To my friends, my work is done -- Why wait? GE."

Kodak thrived for many decades after Eastman's death, rolling out new products to eager customers. New film stocks (ektachrome, kodachrome, tri-x...). Movie cameras. Slide projectors. Super 8. 110mm film cartridges. These things sound quaint now, but they were huge when they hit the market. From 1972 to 1975, 25,000,000 instamatic pocket cameras were produced. In 1976 Kodak sold 90% of all film in the U.S. In 1981 Kodak surpassed $10 Billion in sales (worth about $26 Billion in today's dollars).

On tour in the Eastman House. Photo: Ian Tuttle

Apple's annual sales are a clean order of magnitude greater... currently around $234 Billion (source), but that steady stream of covetable, never-before-seen new products is the same. Apple releases the Macintosh, the iMac, the iPod, the iThis and the iThat (yes, I know, here we are on the iTuttle website...ha ha. But I can't help my name, and iantuttle.com was taken, by another photographer no less!!), and people around the world can't wait to get their hands on them.

While making this comparison during the Eastman House tour, I kept imagining Silicon Valley in 75 years. I'll probably be dead (though, that's debatable). But Sillicon Valley might be dead, too. All these products and services that are integral to our lives now will be replaced by things we can't even fathom right now.

Kodak dominated image-making for over a century. The very first digital camera was invented at Kodak in 1975. (The company famously failed to act on this invention until too late, to the great delight of Harvard Business Review authors and strategy wonks everywhere). Many factors conspired to crush Kodak; it wasn't just digital photography (as evidence, many old-school photo companies survived the digital transition, including Leica, Ilford, Nikon, and, perhaps most notably, Fuji). And while it's hard to imagine Apple ever disappearing (I'm typing this on a Mac, and my iPhone just rang with a text in my pocket), it will. Already, the seamless operation is showing some cracks. I stopped using iTunes a few generations ago because (a) it got too complicated, and (b) Spotify works better and streaming music is a better value. I'm not going to get into a tech debate here, my point is that change comes whether you like it or not. Kodak employed 145,000 people at one time. Apple currently employs 115,000. Back in the 1980s and '90s, nobody thought Kodak would go down. It was listed on the Dow Jones Industrial Average for over 70 years! But... down it went.

Rochester New York is still a vibrant city, with universities, its own orchestra, an Alec Baldwin approved supermarket chain, and plenty of gorgeous mansions, but it's also a little hollowed out. Kodak is gone, in a real sense. Sure, the company exists and still produces terrific photographic film (I AM A FAN!), and movie film [QUENTIN TARANTINO IS A FAN (Hateful 8!), as is JJ Abrams (the new Star Wars!), Vincent Gallo (Buffalo 66!), Todd Haynes (Carol!), David O Russell (Three Kings!) and on and on]. Kodak also makes money by auctioning off its patent portfolio, licensing its still-beloved brand name, and even came out with it's own Smartphone a few months ago (how great is that for the purposes of this article?! It's full circle!). But you don't level 80 buildings in your corporate campus if things are going gangbusters. (I guess for Apple it'll be easier... their entire corporate campus will be in just a single building).

 Kodak's new phone, circa 2015. I'm not making this up.

Kodak's new phone, circa 2015. I'm not making this up.

 Apple's new phone, circa 2015.

Apple's new phone, circa 2015.

Anyway, I enjoyed the museum. I would have loved to have met George Eastman. By all accounts, he was a very generous, kind, energetic, and brilliant man. He was extremely charitable, believing that it was the duty of wealthy people to give back their money in the form of public good -- schools, research, endowments for the arts, etc. By all accounts, Mr Jobs was maybe not a delight to be around, though as far as charity goes it's likely he was also extremely generous, just anonymously so.

Downtown Rochester's now defunct subway system. Photo: Ian Tuttle

If you find yourself in Rochester, visit the George Eastman Museum. It is beautiful, and it is thriving. One of my favorite photographers, Brian Ulrich, was showing in the gallery. An exhibit showing the evolution of Kodak cameras shows you how a singular company brought photography to the masses, allowing us to record our everyday moments and special occasions, and ultimately paved the way for the tiny digital cameras on all of our phones. Concerts are performed there, and the photographic archive is one of the greatest in the entire world. It's a remarkable legacy that he and his company have left. And through it all, I still find myself wondering how Silicon Valley might look in 75 years, after the Next Big Thing hollows out another core. Until then, I'll just keep shooting. ...on Kodak film, as long as it's available.