Dad, Me and Big Blad
by Skip Cohen
In the news today is the press release below in which Hasselblad announced the discontinuation of the V System and one of my all time favorites, the 503CW.
Over the twelve years I was president of Hasselblad USA, we created some incredible memories in marketing, business and just making sure we had fun. It was a work-hard-play-hard mentality. It was an amazing team of talented and passionate people, working with some of the finest photographers in the world.
One of those memories comes from the image on the left, when Big Blad became a trademark at so many different shows. Running approximately 14 feet high it was definitely a conversation piece, but I wonder if the announcement to continue to support accessories for the V System applies to Big Blad - the electric inflator is sounding a little sluggish, but just like Hasselblad's reputation, it's still working!
Here's a prime example of the importance of networks and the great relationships that come out of this industry, a topic I've written about many times. Virtually all of my closest friends, like the Degrees of Separation Kevin Bacon game, can all be traced back to some point in time while I was with Hasselblad.
R.I.P. 503CW - You captured some of the world's most amazing images!
The decision, which comes into immediate effect, brings to an end over a half century of evolution of the company's original camera line.
Dr. Larry Hansen, Hasselblad Chairman and CEO said: "Everything has its place in time. The veteran 503CW combined with an extensive V System range of interchangeable lenses and accessories, was for seventeen years the camera of choice for discerning professionals and aspirational amateur photographers.
But there has been a substantial decline in demand for this camera over the past five years or so and the time has now come for us to reluctantly consign the V System to history. In so doing we would like to thank all fans and customers for both their loyalty and their enthusiasm for our legacy Hasselblad V System."
He added: "Now of course the focus on medium format capture is on our H System - the world's most advanced camera system. The latest generation cameras represent medium format capture engineering at its most exemplary and are well-placed to secure and underpin the company's unrivaled reputation for providing highest image quality and craftsmanship. Additionally we are focusing on new products for advanced enthusiasts."
Hasselblad has confirmed that the last 503CW has rolled off the production line but the company will continue to provide V System accessories while stocks last. V System support will also still be available through current channels.
Check out "Why?" one of the most popular features on the SCU Blog. It's a very simple concept - one image, one artist and one short sound bite. Each artist shares what makes the image one of their most favorite. We're over 100 artists featured since the project started. Click on the link above and you can scroll through all of the episodes to date.