The closure of the Kodak paper factory in Harrow (Middlesex) recently came in light of decreasing worldwide demand for Colour Negative Paper. Operating for just over a century, accelerating technological shifts in an increasingly paperless world have meant that the site that once manufactured the brand’s range of papers had now, in recent years, become unsustainable.
Photographed in its final weeks in December 2016, the factory retains a dismal ambiance deriving from the state of its closure as well as its nature of being a highly sophisticated, seemingly ominous large-scale laboratory.
Metal pipelines run all across the upper tiers of the site whilst hyper-engineered pieces of machinery await decommissioning and transportation to Colorado where they will continue to work and produce Colour Negative Paper (at least on a smaller scale). Juxtaposed with varying kinds of detritus and mountains of rotting paper, the clamour that exists within the production plant offers context on the conditions of this portion of the photographic industry. Whether or not this is its state of disintegration is as of yet unclear, however operations are now having to be scaled down. A lot has changed since the turn of the century, and in an attempt to keep the production going on its range of papers, the brand is also currently in this process of downsizing.
Having ceased production, the site still receives attention from the commercial industry for various projects due to its available space and its run-down aesthetic. Within a matter of days since its official closure, urban explorers have also taken the opportunity to travel and survey the space illegally.
With the buildings stripped down, and the space already derelict, the factory has become a strange figure of Kodak’s looming obsolescence. Photographed from a rooftop across the train tracks, the remnants of the brand can be seen as a bitter-sweet testament to its legacy.