Thursday, December 30, 2010

Kodachrome: The End of The Road

I have to view and sort through the many carousel trays full of slides lining the living room wall, shot mostly on Kodachrome film. A sad day, but those images will still be with us long after the digital ones are erased or somehow destroyed in other ways. The New York Times:
PARSONS, Kan. — An unlikely pilgrimage is under way to Dwayne’s Photo, a small family business that has through luck and persistence become the last processor in the world of Kodachrome, the first successful color film and still the most beloved.
That celebrated 75-year run from mainstream to niche photography is scheduled to come to an end on Thursday when the last processing machine is shut down here to be sold for scrap.
In the last weeks, dozens of visitors and thousands of overnight packages have raced here, transforming this small prairie-bound city not far from the Oklahoma border for a brief time into a center of nostalgia for the days when photographs appeared not in the sterile frame of a computer screen or in a pack of flimsy prints from the local drugstore but in the warm glow of a projector pulling an image from a carousel of vivid slides.
In the span of minutes this week, two such visitors arrived. The first was a railroad worker who had driven from Arkansas to pick up 1,580 rolls of film that he had just paid $15,798 to develop. The second was an artist who had driven directly here after flying from London to Wichita, Kan., on her first trip to the United States to turn in three rolls of film and shoot five more before the processing deadline.
The artist, Aliceson Carter, 42, was incredulous as she watched the railroad worker, Jim DeNike, 53, loading a dozen boxes that contained nearly 50,000 slides into his old maroon Pontiac. He explained that every picture inside was of railroad trains and that he had borrowed money from his father’s retirement account to pay for developing them.
“That’s crazy to me,” Ms. Carter said. Then she snapped a picture of Mr. DeNike on one of her last rolls.
Demanding both to shoot and process, Kodachrome rewarded generations of skilled users with a richness of color and a unique treatment of light that many photographers described as incomparable even as they shifted to digital cameras. “Makes you think all the world’s a sunny day,” Paul Simon sang in his 1973 hit “Kodachrome,” which carried the plea “Mama, don’t take my Kodachrome away.” 
The whole piece isn't long, so read it (and weep) at the link above.  Ah, the memories.

More later.


  1. Talk about nostalgia...I remember the days of the little Fotomat (??) booths scattered all over.

  2. OMG Foto-Mats I remember them too Rick... In the parking lots of most major grocery stores...

  3. another change due to technology; I too will miss film


Your comments are welcome if they are positive and/or helpful.
If they are simply a tirade or opinionated bullshit, they will be removed, so don't waste your time, or mine.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...