The Kodak headquarters in Rochester, New York, were founded by George Eastman in 1888. In its prime, Kodak employed thousands of people and turned Rochester into a wealthy town. After the digitalization of photography, the business declined.
Swiss visual artist Catherine Leutenegger’s series reveals what remains of Kodak as a business and the ways in which the decline of the company impacted the city of Rochester. It is a testimony that is both engaged and objective, covering a part of America's industrial heritage that faces inevitable disappearance. It is also a way of paying homage to the father of modern photography, George Eastman (1854 -1932) in his hometown, which he transformed into the cradle of the world’s collective memory for the entire 20th century.
Looped video, 8 minutes 28 seconds
Created with videos extracts taken from YouTube, this sequence presents a montage of the scheduled implosions of film factories in Rochester by the Eastman Kodak Company, from 2007. The first part named Winds Of Change 2006 is a Kodak Corporate video, created by advertising agency partners + napier about Kodak’s digital transformation, with the actor Steve Tom.
Catherine Leutenegger (born 1983) is a Swiss visual artist and photographer.
Her first monographical book titled “Hors-champ”, revealing photographers’ workspaces, was published by Infolio through the prestigious Manor Cultural Award 2006, which includes a generous cash prize and an exhibition at the Musée de l’Elysée curated by William A. Ewing and Nathalie Herschdorfer.
Furthermore, she is the recipient of several major fellowships including two Swiss Federal Design Grants (2006 and 2008); the Raymond Weil International Photography Prize (2008) and the BCV Encouragement Prize (2006). In 2007 she took part of an artist residency program in New York and started her project named Kodak City, in Rochester.
Leutenegger’s photographs have been featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions on the international scene: Aperture Gallery, New York; Finnish Museum of Photography, Helsinki; Bieler Fototage, Biel; Fotomuseum, Winterthur; Head On Photofestival, Sydney; Lianzhou Photofestival, Lianzhou; Festival Circulations, Paris; Carla Sozzani Gallery, Milan.
Her work is in the collections of several public and private institutions, including: Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne; MAST Foundation Collection, Bologna and Musée Nicéphore-Niépce, Chalon-sur-Saône.