Fotokemika (1947-2012) was a famous and respectable photo equipment factory during Yugoslavia, later the Croatian Republic that produced equipment for processing analog photography, such as films, papers and chemicals.
The birth of the photo industry in former Yugoslavia started after the Second World War in the time of major renovation. With the demands of the market, and on the initiative of a group of photographers and photographic experts the idea of photo factory was born. By merging companies Photo and Ozacel they formed a stock company Fotokemika which began building a factory in Zagreb in 1946. They started with the production of black and white photo paper, photo chemicals, and simple cameras. Few years later, in 1952 the new plant in Samobor was opened which was specialized in production of films, such as photographic, cinematographic and x-ray film. At that point the only countries that had a photo industry were Germany, Belgium, England, France, Italy, the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, USA and Japan. In the period of 1950’s it was created a brand of films called eFKe, which will stayed trademark of the factory until it closing.
Fotokemika products, films and papers
Amongst the Fotokemika factory experts, were some of the leading chemists and engineers in the country, responsible for improving the product in field of photo industry. Managers employed Josip Sudar, who is considered a pioneer of marketing in the former Yugoslavia. Thanks to Sudar marketing campaigns, Fotokemika accessed different world markets very soon after it opened. Sudar‘s vision was accompanied by an avant-garde tendency of visual expression at the time. He started collaborating with Aleksandar Srnec, one of the most famous Croatian artists, whose signature works feature geometric abstraction and a minimalist aesthetic. Second half, beside Sudar, in creating public image eFKe brand was Dušan Bekar, chief designer at Fotokemika in the 1950-60s. During those years, with both the vision of Sudar and the modern, contemporary design of Bekar, Fotokemika achieved a record-breaking success, and from this point of view, it could be said that was the ‘golden age’ period for Fotokemika.
Aleksandar Srnec graphic design for Fotokemika, 1960
Source: Marinko Sudac Collection