2010 Hall of Fame Inductees

2010 Hall of Fame Inductees


The Picture Business Hall of Fame award recognizes individual and/or retail contributions to the imaging industry. Such contributions are made in many forms and have helped re-shape this market.

The Hall of Fame honors not only the industry's veterans, but also its innovators, the visionaries and the deal makers – those who pursue a rare standard of excellence. Picture Business 2010 Hall of Fame inductees represent the entire spectrum of ambition and achievement and the group we have selected this year have all made strong and lasting contributions to the imaging industry.

Fujio Mitarai — Chairman and CEO, Canon Inc.

Fujio Mitarai has been the Chairman of the Board of Canon Inc. since March 2006 and has been its Chief Executive Officer since September 1995.

Mr. Mitarai joined Canon Inc. in April 1961 and served as President of Canon U.S.A. Inc., the regional headquarters for operations in the Americas, from June 1979 to January 1989. He was appointed Managing Director of Canon Inc. in April 1985 and Vice President in March 1993. He has served as President of Canon Inc. from September 1995 to May 2006.

Regarding the imaging industry, Mr. Mitarai had this to say: “The camera industry has witnessed dramatic change over the past 10 years. Supported by a variety of new technologies, digital cameras have replaced analog film models. During this period, the photo-film industry, with a more than 100-year history, has fallen into decline and we've entered into a new era in which images shot on digital cameras can now easily be printed out at home. In addition, through ICT (Information and Communication Technology), we continue to see new and exciting possibilities for the future of photography.

“Throughout the changes that have taken place in the industry, Canon has consistently been among the leading companies, an achievement that I believe has been made possible thanks to our outstanding employees and our innovation capabilities.

“Canon will continue striving to offer users a comprehensive lineup of imaging products and solutions, from input to output for both still images and video, aiming to further contribute to the development of the imaging industry.”

Steve Sasson — Eastman Kodak Co.

Generally regarded as the inventor of the digital camera, his invention began in 1975 with a very broad assignment from his supervisor at Eastman Kodak Company, Gareth A. Lloyd: Could a camera be built using solid-state electronics, solid-state imagers, an electronic sensor known as a charge coupled device (CCD) that gathers optical information.

Texas Instruments had designed an electronic camera in 1972 that was filmless but not digital, using instead analog electronics. After a literature search on digital imaging came up virtually empty, Sasson drew on whatever was available: an analog-to-digital converter adapted from Motorola Inc. components, a Kodak movie-camera lens and the tiny CCD chips introduced by Fairchild Semiconductor in 1973.

Two years later an eight-pound prototype was developed and Sasson and his chief technician persuaded a lab assistant to pose for them, so the story goes. The black-and-white image, captured at a resolution of .01 megapixels (10,000 pixels), took 23 seconds to record onto a digital cassette tape and another 23 seconds to read off a playback unit onto a television. Then it popped up on the screen.

“You could see the silhouette of her hair,” Sasson said at the time. “But her face was a blur of static. She was less than happy with the photograph and left, saying 'You need work,'” he recalled. But Sasson already knew the solution: reversing a set of wires, the assistant's face was restored.

In early 1978, Sasson and Lloyd were issued U.S. Patent 4,131,919 for their digital camera—and the rest is, of course, well-documented imaging history.

Ryutaro (Ray) Hosoda, President, FUJIFILM Holdings America Corporation and President and CEO, FUJIFILM North America Corporation

Ryutaro Hosoda is President and CEO of Fujifilm North America Corporation, a marketing subsidiary of Fujifilm Corporation. In this capacity he is responsible for five operating divisions in the United States and Canada that market a broad range of consumer and commercial products and services including film, one-time-use cameras, online photo services and fulfillment, digital printing equipment, consumer digital cameras, graphic arts industry products and services, and motion picture film.

Regarding the company's goals moving forward, Hosoda commented, “Our overarching corporate motto is: 'Enhancing the quality of life for people all over the world.' Fujifilm launched the digital camera business in the United States in 1997, and I am humbled by this historic milestone for Fujifilm that brings the joy of capturing and sharing memories in an instant. It's wonderful to think that we have enhanced the lives of our customers. Since then, as each year progresses, we've continued to bring innovative products and services—way beyond photography—that focus on giving the customer the best possible experience.”

In 2008, Mr. Hosoda came to the United States as President of Fujifilm Holdings America Corporation and President and CEO of Fujifilm U.S.A., Inc. Since that time, he has overseen the subsequent merge into Fujifilm North America Corporation as of January 1, 2010, and many additional organizational changes to optimize business performance and better serve the customer base.

In 2009, he was named Corporate Vice President of Fujifilm Corporation.

Willoughby's — New York, NY

“Willoughby's is proud to be NYC's oldest photographic emporium serving consumers through three centuries,” this venerable old camera store is quick to proclaim. When famed lensman Charles Willoughby opened his camera shop in 1898, he probably never imagined it would carry the high-tech gizmos it does today. Over 110 years later Willoughby's still sells a large selection of cameras and photo equipment for every budget and skill level. The store has made a very successful transition over the years by adding a wide selection of mobile electronics and accessories while maintaining their deep photographic roots.

Willoughby's is an authorized dealer for many of the industries leading brands including Nikon, Sony, Canon, Olympus, Sanyo, Panasonic, Leica, Swarovski, Pentax, Sigma and more

Central Camera

Chicago, IL

Albert Flesch left his native Hungary to come to Chicago alone when he was 13. Albert carried not only much of his family's hopes, but he also carried a small red diary with him on the trip. In his diary, he tells of buying a new winter coat and visiting relatives on the day of his departure. He describes the life on board ship and his arrival in Chicago, where he went to live with an uncle. Several years later, Flesch started his work career in the camera department of Chicago's Siegel-Cooper, one of the large downtown department stores of its day.

With this initiation to photography, he opened Central Camera in a storefront at 31 E. Adams St. in 1899. The 1893 Columbian Exposition had put Chicago on the map as an international city and by 1899 downtown Chicago already had staked its growth on vertical construction with the first generation of skyscrapers.

The year of Central Camera's founding marked the 60th anniversary of the invention of photography. George Eastman had revolutionized the market with easy-to-operate Kodak box cameras, first introduced in 1888.

Flesch offered the innovative service of commercial developing and print processing at his store in 1900 and also introduced a mail-order catalogue.

Central Camera prospered and, after a move to another location on Wabash Avenue, settled in 1929 at its present location, in what had been a piano store.

Flesch's two sons, Stanley and Harold, had started in the business by then. He had a heart attack and died in 1933 at the age of 56. Together Stanley and Harold branched into new areas such as Albert Specialty Co., a manufacturing business that made tripods and other equipment, which was disbanded in the late 1950s.

Harold's son Albert “Don” Flesch, the current owner, started working in the store as a schoolboy in the 1950s.