Friday, February 4, 2011

Mama Don't Take My Kodachrome Away. Last Roll Processed

by Warren McLaren, Bundanoon, Australia

Paul Simon echoed the sentiments of many photographers when he sang "Mama don't take my Kodachrome away." But for the 75 year old iconic slide transparency film, time is finally up. On 30 December 2010 Dwayne's Photo studio in Kansas processed the world's last roll of Kodak Kodachrome film.

The film first appeared back in 1935, taking stills photography market by storm with its long lasting, saturated colours. However Kodachrome's many decades of dominance eventually succumbed to pressure from even more vibrant slide films, like Fuji Velvia, and from consumers moving to the more accessible print film, and eventually to the tsunami which is digital photography.

On the 22nd of June 2009, Eastman Kodak Company announced they were retiring Kodachrome. Steve McCurry, the photographer who shot the famous National Geographic cover of the Afghan Girl (with Kodachrome) was given the last roll of 36 images by Kodak.

Interviewed for The Wichita Eagle, McCurry said,

"I like having something to hold in my hand."
"With digital photography, it's just a hard drive. With Kodachrome, the film is real. You can touch it, put it in a drawer, and come back to it later. It's tangible. It's an object. With digital, the pictures only exist in a hard drive, in a memory chip."

Ironically though NPR reports that Steve also had a digital camera along for his final Kodachrome assignment:

"Every one of the 36 frames on that final roll was precious. "Am I getting the right moment?" he wonders. "Is it in focus? Is the exposure right?" So before he took one of those shots, he used a digital camera to hone in on the perfect exposure.

... read more story at

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