Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on June 22, 2009
It has probably been five years since I took a picture on film and longer than that since I shot a transparency, but a couldn’t help feeling a deep pang when I saw Kodak’s announcement that it was ending production of Kodachrome after a 74-year production run.
In a sense, it’s surprising that Kodachrome lasted this long. Most surviving film products owe their existence to professional use. But pros avoided Kodachrome, in part because it used an exotic development process that required sending the film to a Kodak-licensed lab. The pros stuck with Ektachrome, or competitors from Fuji and Agfa, that used the E-6 process and could be developed in their own darkrooms.
But amateurs loved Kodachrome, largely, I think, because of the vibrancy of the slides it produced—it was especially good at rendering the green foliage of summer. As Paul Simon, who seems to know his film, sang: “They give us those nice, bright colors/They give us the green of summer/They make us think all the world’s a sunny day.”
So long Kodachrome. I’ll miss you.