[Readers, if you agree with the below sentiments, please add your name to this letter here]
Scrolling through Kodak’s Instagram page something jumps out – nearly all the images featured are by men. The selected photos are undoubtedly brilliant shots, many by amateur film enthusiasts, but you’ll have to search a while before finding a female photographer (about 30 posts back, and then after that, more men). Kodak’s Instagram page currently does little to amplify the work of women and gender minority groups, and it also clearly lacks in diversity of race and ethnicity.
Considered by many film shooters as the mother ship, Kodak’s sway over the analogue community is significant and with a following of around 850k from across the world, their reach is wide. When an influential company like Kodak only promotes work by men, it perpetuates the (false) idea that ‘serious photography’ is a male pursuit.
The photography industry is famously imbalanced; the majority of professional photographers are white men. According to 1854 Media, publisher of the British Journal of Photography, ‘globally, 70-80% of photography students are women – yet they account for only 13-15% of professional photographers’. Data from the US Census Bureau in 2019 shows that 73% of Photographers are ‘White (Non-Hispanic)’, compared 62% of the population, while 8% of photographers are Black and 5% are Asian, compared to 12% and 6% of the population respectively. Arguably these disparities have a cascading effect across all types and levels of photography – from hobbyist to professional. It is irresponsible of Kodak to prop up this status quo.
So Kodak, for some inspiration, I have compiled a list of photographers below who I know for a fact use your film to create their photos, and just so happen to not be male. This is just a handful of the talent out there. People across the world use and love Kodak film, providing your social media platforms with the means to share a range of perspectives. Please diversify the photographers you promote on your page. Representation matters.
* this letter was updated 11/08/21