‘Kodak moments’ remembered

Story highlights

Amid rumors of Kodak's bankruptcy, iReporters sent in their favorite 'Kodak moment'

Lynn Kordus' most memorable Kodak moment was with the Beatles

Lee Gunderson's favorite Kodak film is Ektachrome 100

CNN  — 

“You press the button, we do the rest.”

The words of Kodak’s first advertising slogan, coined by its founder George Eastman in 1892, still seem relevant 120 years later, even among rumors that Kodak is considering bankruptcy.

With the digital age upon us, the term “point and shoot” has developed a new meaning. But for those who grew up using – and developing – film, there was a lot more to photography than just pointing and shooting.

CNN iReport contributor Lynn Kordus found that out the hard way. As a 17-year-old fan of the Beatles, it was only in her wildest dreams that she would attend their concert. Hanging out with them in their dressing room was unfathomable – until 1965.

“My most memorable Kodak moment has got to be the day I spent 30 minutes with the Beatles,” she told CNN iReport.

Her Kodak Instamatic camera in hand, Kordus went backstage to meet the Fab Four in Bloomington, Minnesota. She realized too late that her one flashcube – a disposable flash that had four one-time-use flashbulbs – was missing a bulb. Her father had gone back to the car to get another cube but didn’t return before Kordus was whisked backstage.

She took photos of John Lennon flipping through a magazine, Ringo Starr acting goofy and George Harrison in the shower room tuning a guitar before her flashcube ran out of juice. She said Paul McCartney – her favorite Beatle at the time – looked around for an extra but couldn’t find one. They took the photo anyway; the florescent lights brightened the room plenty.

A problem of the film age: Not realizing until too late that the image would be underexposed.

Without the additional light from the flash, the photo was too dark and didn’t turn out. Her photo set with the Beatles was incomplete.

“My loss,” she said. But having those other images made the surreal experience come to life. Not only did she have proof of her visit for others to see, but she said it was also validating for her: “It really did happen.”

Photos: Kodachrome collection looks back at mid-century America

Professional photographer and iReport submitter Lee Gunderson has been shooting with a Kodak since he was a kid, mastering his photography skills with the help of his father since age 4. The company’s purportedly inevitable Chapter 11 saddens him.

“Kodak set the bar on color contrast, saturation and the parameters of color I look for,” he said. This was something Gunderson believes Kodachrome in particular really excelled at. It was this film that National Geographic photographer Steve McCurry used for his famous 1985 “Afghan girl” image. Kodak stopped manufacturing that line of film in 2009 because it represented less than 1% of the company’s film sales.

Mastering film isn’t easy, Gunderson said.

“You get good really quick or you go broke,” he added. “It’s not like digital photography where you click away at no cost.”

While he still uses film, Gunderson has noticed a sharp drop in its availability in stores. When processing fees are added – at around $50 a roll – the price jumps quickly. Still, he said, the quality just isn’t there with digital, so for special occasions he still uses film – and Kodak’s Ektachrome 100 is one of his favorites.

“Kodak’s trademark was rock solid,” he said of growing up with the brand. “It always performed; it was always reliable.”

The popularity and usability of Kodak’s cameras changed the way the world captured precious “Kodak moments.”

“The Instamatic was the proverbial point-and-shoot,” iReporter Kordus said. “I liked the ease of shooting photos. It was simple. You didn’t have to learn a lot.”

“Kodak film was the bread and butter of my career,” Gunderson said. The brand will be missed, he added.

See more Kodak moments on CNN iReport.