Kodak Kodachrome holds a special place in my life as a photography. Looking back 10 years after the film's demise. It is ten years since Kodak announced that it was to stop producing the last of its iconic Kodachrome films. It was on 22 June 2009 that the Eastman Kodak Company broke the news from its headquarters in Rochester, New York, that the much-loved slide film would stop production after a run of 74 years.
But a decade on, still holds a legendary status in the history of photography. To mark the 10th anniversary of Kodachrome's demise here are ten things about the yellow-boxed film that you may or may not know. Kodachrome was invented by two friends Leopold Godowsky and Leopold Mannes. Their quest for coming up with a better color film started, the story goes, with being really disappointed in the color quality of a film they saw together in 1917.
The two were professional classical musicians - but as university-trained scientists and amateur boffins they both worked away at trying to come up with a better color film stock. By 1922 they have secured financial backing to set up their own dedicated laboratory, and in 1930 joined Kodak to create a marketable film. In later life, they both went back to being musicians. Kodachrome was launched in 1935 - initially just as a 16mm movie film format. The first stills version of the film was released the following year. Kodachrome movie film ceased manufacture in 2006.
The secret to Kodachrome's success is that it used a different process to other color film. The film did not contain the color dyes, unlike its rivals. Instead Kodachrome had three different monochrome layers - to which the three primary colors were added with dye coupler during a complex chemical development.
The exact chemical process had several iterations, but the K-14 process was used from 1974 through the film's ultimate demise. The name Kodachrome predates film as we know it. Kodak had used the brand name on a film that it had released 20 years earlier in 1915. The subtractive process for this now-forgotten film was invented by John Capstaff in 1913. The original Kodachrome movie film had a film speed of ISO 10 (or 10 ASA, if you prefer).
The daylight-balanced ISO 25 and ISO 64 versions of the film that older readers will remember were introduced as Kodachrome II in 1961. These were later rebranded as Kodachrome 25 and Kodachrome 64. Commonly called just K25 and K64, the ISO 25 version ceased production in 2001.
Faster ISO 200 versions of Kodachrome were sold from 1986 through to 2007.
Although best known for its 35mm versions, Kodachrome was also produced at different times in 126, 120 and 110 stills formats – as well as in various movie and cine film formats.
Could Kodachrome make a comeback? With the advent and advances in digital photography, film sales plummeted during the early part of the 21st century. Not only did professionals and enthusiasts move over to using digital cameras and re-usable memory cards - but the masses abandoned compact cameras in favor of pocketable multi-function camera phones.
But as more film companies stopped production of different film stocks, silver halide photography has made something of a comeback. Older photographers want to go back to the cameras they learned their craft on - and young photographers want to differentiate themselves by using traditional materials.