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Bloviating Zeppelin: The Last Kodachrome:

Bloviating Zeppelin

(in-ep-toc'-ra-cy) - a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Last Kodachrome:

Kodak's Kodachrome (slide) film is dead; long live Kodachrome.

Kodak announced in June of 2009 that the production of Kodachrome would be ceasing.

Now, this month (August of 2010), photographer Steve McCurry was given the very last production 36 roll of Kodachrome to shoot:

(AP) What should a photographer shoot when he is entrusted with the very last roll of Kodachrome?

Steve McCurry took aim at the Brooklyn Bridge, Grand Central Terminal and a few human icons, too. Paul Simon, the crooner synonymous with the fabled film's richly saturated colors, shied away. But Robert De Niro stood in for the world of filmmaking.

Kodachrome enjoyed its mass-market heyday in the 1960s and '70s before being eclipsed by video and easy-to-process color negative films, the kind that prints are made from. It garnered its share of spectacular images, none more iconic than Abraham Zapruder's reel of President John Kennedy's assassination in 1963.

But Mama Time is taking Kodachrome away, and McCurry feels the tug of nostalgia even as he loads Eastman Kodak Co.'s last manufactured roll into his Nikon F6, just as he's done "so many tens of thousands of times."




Those of us who shot analog film for many years may or may not shed a tear at the demise of Kodachrome. For those unfamiliar, a "chrome" ending meant a slide film, and a "color" ending to a film's name meant a print film. Kodak films came in, first, metal canisters and then plastic. You could purchase 12, 24 or 36-frame rolls. When you were done you had to first rewind the film back into its canister and then open the camera back for extraction. Heavy sigh. Remember?

I started shooting 35mm film in the early 70s, with my very first camera being a Nikormat and a single 35mm lens which I used for everything -- including my "normal" lens. From there my 35mm kit expanded to a Nikon F2 Photomic, another two F2 bodies, a fleet of fixed lenses, an F3, more lenses, two Olympus OM-2s and its concomitant fleet of lenses, and an aging Speed Graphic. I learned to absolutely adore Fuji Velvia film for its wonderful saturation. [Shhh. Don't tell anyone but I'm color blind (don't ask how I passed the color blindness test for copdom) and really like my colors vivid and blazing. My sight isn't good, my hearing isn't good, my sense of smell and taste are awful. I suppose you could say my senses predominantly suck, which is why I like things, in terms of senses, that are way over the top.]

I made some good money in the analog 35mm film business, I should add. I had a small production photography company at one time where I shot commercially, plus I was a photo stringer for a McClatchy Newspaper for a while -- just my photo bag and a scanner. Which might be, oddly enough, how I came to know so many cops.

But once I discovered digital and could dismantle my darkroom, the gloves were off. I haven't picked up any of my F2s in years. My DSLR now is a Sony A300, along with four more other digital cameras (including my newest superzoom Nikon Coolpix P100, which is remarkably convenient).

Still and all, it's the end of an era; I feel a bit melancholy. Another bit of my past bites the dust.

BZ

P.S.
I know, it's way past too obvious, but I simply had to include this video as well:

5 Comments:

Blogger Always On Watch said...

I went through a Kodachrome faze. Now I have thousands upon thousands of slides that I never look at. **sigh**

Same goes for stacks of prints.

But I do have pictures that I look at: those family pictures taken in the early 1900's. Black and white, of course. However, I feel a lot sadness when I go through those old photos. All of those beloved family members and ancestors are gone now.

Sat Aug 21, 06:55:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Mine too. Double heavy sigh.

BZ

Sat Aug 21, 05:56:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Well Seasoned Fool said...

Tons of slides and pictures to copy to digital. For a duffer like me, digital is a blessing. The electronics do the work and Windows Picture Manager cleans it up.

I have one Olympus that has taken close to 10,000 digital photos. My sister, an insurance adjuster, uses it when her camera is in the shop.

Sat Aug 21, 08:01:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

WSF, and in another way, it's another door on the past shutting not with a slam but with a click.

BZ

Sat Aug 21, 10:02:00 PM PDT  
Blogger ASM826 said...

BZ,

I feel the same nostalgia for Kodachrome. I used it almost exclusively when I was overseas with Uncle Sam's Misguided Children.
Here's my post on the topic, with a picture I took in Hiroshima and recently scanned.

ASM826

Fri Aug 27, 08:54:00 PM PDT  

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