Eastman Kodak Co., the photography pioneering corporation that helped capture the 20th century, filed for bankruptcy Thursday.
Unable to keep up with the 21st-century transition from film to digital technology, Kodak listed a debt of $6.8 billion and assets of $5.1 billion, Bloomberg reports.
Kodak has been felled by exactly what it espoused: universal access to cameras. Kodak encouraged photography early in the 20th century thanks in part to its inexpensive Brownie camera, sold for $1. It also built the first digital camera but didn’t market it, as it saw it as too fierce a competitor for its film cameras.
Despite its modern-day problems, Kodak left a definitive mark on the country, shaping our ideas of what a camera can be used for. As Alexis Madrigal of the Atlantic wrote, Kodak created “a culture of life recording that has never been stronger. Kodak may not survive, but Kodakery lives on.”
Here’s a collection of early advertisements from the company, courtesy of Duke University: