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News Link • Economy - Economics USA

Last days of Kodak town: the decline and fall of the city photography built

•, Dave Stelfox

Rochester is a place built by photography. Since 1888, this small city in upstate New York has been home to Eastman Kodak: a corporation that, at its peak, produced 90% of the film used in the US and provided jobs for more than 60,000 local people. Now, like many other company towns across the US, it has fallen on hard times. After years struggling to keep pace with the digital revolution, shedding workers and selling off its assets, Kodak was forced to file for bankruptcy protection in January 2012.

The announcement caused dismay throughout the photographic world. In April 2012, the renowned Magnum agency dispatched 11 of its members – including Alec Soth, Susan Meiselas, Martin Parr and Bruce Gilden – to Rochester for two weeks. Together, they would document life in the town at this challenging time. But, as their new book Memory City proves, for Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb one trip was not enough.

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