Monday 19 July 2010

Kodachrome Does a Victory Lap

The clock is ticking for Kodachrome. Variously described as "iconic" and "the most successful colour film in history", many pro photographers today remember cutting their teeth on Kodachrome. I have three rolls of the stuff in my fridge but, alas, they will soon be museum pieces.

Kodachrome PacketLast week, the last roll of Kodachrome ever produced was finally developed at Dwayne's Photo in Kansas which is the only lab in the world that is still developing this film. Kodachrome used to be sold with prepaid processing envelopes as the unique process was the preserve of Kodak labs accross the world. Succumbing to the inevitable march of progress, fueled by the popularity of digital photography but also due to advances in film emulsion technologies, the production of Kodachrome was no longer viable by June 2009 when Kodak announced that they would be discontinuing sales after 79 years.

Dwayne’s will continue to process Kodachrome slides until December of this year so time is running out if you want to shoot a piece of history. Developing and mounting at the lab is $10 (£6:50) and international shipping for the films is $12:95 (£8:40), UK airmail to the US would be about £1:82 for the film so it’s probably worth it for £16:72 just to be able to say you shot with Kodachrome in 2010.

Steve McCurry is the photojournalist who burned and soaked the last roll of Kodachrome last week. His work with National Geographic and in Afghanistan is instantly recognisable for its brilliant human intensity and there is the opportunity to see some of his imagery at a retrospective exhibition in Birmingham until October this year.

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