RIP Kodachrome

Scott Johnson
Power Line

Bill Katz is the proprietor of Urgent Agenda and our occasional contributor. Paul Simon having given us the definitive tribute to Kodachrome, today Bill offers the definitive eulogy:

An era now ends. No, no, I’m not referring to the closing of 2010. That’s routine stuff. It’s a more important era that ends. Today, December 30, 2010, marks the death of Kodachrome, the Eastman Kodak product that, more than any other, defined and made possible the age of color photography. Death came at the incredible age of 75, one of the longest runs for a product in commercial history. The New York Times obituary is here.

Kodak stopped making Kodachrome in 2009, and stopped making the chemicals needed to process it, a complex process that could never be done in home darkrooms. Kodachrome had been pushed aside by the replacement of home movie cameras by digital camcorders, and the collapse of the color-slide market. Today, in Kansas, the world’s last remaining Kodachrome processing lab shuts down. The end. Forever.

Many of us grew up on Kodachrome. We watched our parents’ home movies, and shot some ourselves. We sat fascinated as our family slide projectors flashed one Kodachrome slide after another on our home screens. Nothing can replace those large, rich images. Nothing. Yes, they’ll still make color slide films and movie film, even as digital devices steamroll over film-based photography. But Kodachrome had qualities no other film ever had. Among most photographers, it was the world standard in accuracy, sharpness and lack of grain…

Read the rest at Power Line.

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