Saturday, July 25, 2009

Don't take our Kodachrome away.


A little over a month ago, Kodak made an announcement that you didn't see on your local news: they're discontinuing Kodachrome, the world's first commercially viable color film. Only one lab in the entire world will still process this film, because of the very complex nature of its processing (unlike other films, nobody processes this film in their own darkroom). I'm still deciding whether or not I should pick up a roll of Kodachrome and shoot some just for posterity. Literally, for posterity.

A few days ago on flickr, I came across a Kodachrome from the 1940's. It was just a simple picture of a woman on a rooftop, with a red sweater spread out behind her head.

(sorry, I don't have the rights to post the photo.)

Wait a minute, this must have just been a period photograph. There's no way that that was really taken in the '40's. However, no one else seems to call attention to the supposed validity of the original poster.

So, I start looking for other old Kodachromes, and I find that the Library of Congress has just released a bevy of color photos from the 1930's and '40's, most of which were shot with Kodachrome, and they're ALL on flickr. So, after looking through a bunch of them, and thinking about other photographs that I associate with this period, I realize, that one of the best reason to keep Kodachrome around is that it does not loose its luster, if treated properly. Anyway, I also looked through most of the photos the the Library of Congress put up, and here are some of my favorites:

It's crazy to think that this is what digital cannot achieve, and we've had it for 70 years.


Anonymous said...

Hi -

Just wanted to let you know the photo you linked to ( was a Kodachrome print in my father's photos. I scanned it and put it up because the color was so great. The date was on the back and there were other shots of the same girl, and my father in uniform too.