The Eastman Kodak Co. and the Canadian Kodak Co. Ltd: Re-structuring the Canadian photographic industry, c.1885-1910
Within the accepted historiography of photography, the importance of George Eastman and the Eastman Kodak Company (EKC) has become unassailable. They have been placed as the key, and often sole, agent in “revolutionizing” the amateur photography market in the late nineteenth century. While the photographic landscape and market of 1885-1914 was indeed radically altered, the historiographical dominance of what can be identified as the “Kodak story” has obscured the means through which EKC’s successful re-structuring of the existing manufacturing and distribution networks of photographic materials occurred. I argue that the changes effected by Eastman and the EKC began not with imaging desires, but with their acknowledgment, and profound understanding of the existing and competing interests within the photographic industry. This thesis focuses on the EKC’s re-structuring of the extant and evolving communities involved in the manufacturing and distribution of photographic materials in Canada between 1885-1910. Focusing particularly on the period immediately surrounding the establishment of the Canadian Kodak Co. Limited in 1899, I demonstrate the re-structuring processes at work, including: market and financial diversification; governmental lobbying; purchase and mergers; and other business and marketing-based strategies. I frame my theoretical positions and analysis of network re-structuring through the experiences of Ottawa professional photographer and photographic business owner William James Topley (active 1868-1907), and CKCoLtd manager John Garrison Palmer (active 1886-1921). Topley and Garrison’s professional experiences and interactions with expanded communities of photographic consumers and industry participants provide an opportunity for specific and detailed findings which challenge understandings of the evolution of the practice of photography during this transitional period. In doing so, I provide evidence of the primary role network re-structuring played in the EKC’s ability to shape the wider international photographic industry to their advantage in the early twentieth century.
- PhD