Kodak Kodachrome. (part two)

by John Waco Jr February. 23, 2020 129 views

Kodak Kodachrome — introduced in 1935 as one of the first commercially successful colour slide film. Launched initially as a colour movie film, it soon flooded into the still photography market. The Kodachrome I shot was introduced in 1974, although the first ASA-64 Kodachrome was released as Kodachrome-X in 1962, however, by 1974 the move to the last Kodachrome process K-14 changed the name of Kodachrome II (ASA-25) and Kodachrome X (ASA-64) to the more familiar Kodachrome 25 and Kodachrome 64. What made Kodachrome stand out was how it was processed, the K-14 process called for 17 steps, but because of how the film worked and how it was processed it proves to be an archaically stable film stock like no other colour film in the modern era. The complexity would be the film’s downfall, by 2009 manufacturing of the film and the processing chemicals were stopped, and the final lab, Dwayne’s Photo in Kansas continued processing for another year before ending and scrapping the line. I only got to shoot Kodachrome for a short time as I came into it only through listening to the Film Photography Podcast who were talking of the end of Kodachrome right from their first season. The idea of going back and reviewing Kodak Kodachrome is in light of last year’s return of Kodak Ektachrome E100, and with the addition of a Nikon Coolscan V ED to my workflow I decided to go back and rescan some of my slides. These were all shot throughout 2010. Thanks to the Film Photography Project, Sean Galbraith, John Meadows, and Dwayne’s Photo for all the help in creating this review.

Dec. 30, 2010 — -- They really are taking Kodachrome away, this time for good.

Kodachrome certainly had a long and remarkable run. Introduced in 1935 as a motion picture film, Kodachrome came of age with the baby-boomers. It's best known as the slide film that chronicled the iconic post-WWII decades in families' carousel projectors. The popularity of Kodachrome was "the sort of thing that goes along with the beginning of the post-war prosperity, baby-boom concept."

Kodachrome Sales Peaked Post-WWII

Sales of the product peaked in the 1960s and '70s before steadily declining as more modern films allowed easy prints for photographers. In 2009, when Kodak stopped making the film, it amounted to a fraction of one percent of the company's sales. Kodachrome captured some key moments in our history. In addition to hobbyists and families, Kodachrome was used by the best professional photographers in the world. "Unlike all the other color films, it's actually a black-and-white film. ... "You can't do this at home. It's just not possible. And it was never really a mini-lab process." As development of the film comes to a halt, so will Kodachrome's distinctive look. the film's look as "laser-edged," and even a casual observer is struck by the film's vibrant colors. "Kodachrome, you give us those nice bright colors, you give us the greens of summers," Paul Simon sang. "Makes you think all the world's a sunny day." Those colors are part of the reason the film has been so popular with photographers, who've rushed to get their final rolls for processing. "The colors of it are just amazing. Blues are super-vibrant blue, and reds just pop off the page.

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John Durham 7 months, 1 week ago

Thanks for this piece - I just finished scanning all of my Kodachrome slides and will begin to sort and upload some, especially those from my years in Wyoming. I'm fascinated by you pieces on cameras. Please keep things going!

7 months, 1 week ago Edited
John Waco Jr Replied to John Durham 7 months, 1 week ago

Thank you very much for your comments they are much appreciated.

7 months, 1 week ago Edited
Fernando Bourgon 9 months, 1 week ago

There has been no movie like the Kodacrome 64. I have a lot of slides and still keep the original color. Congratulations on the article.

9 months, 1 week ago Edited
John Waco Jr Replied to Fernando Bourgon 9 months, 1 week ago

Thank you very much for your comments they are much appreciated. Have your treasured slides, negatives and photographs converted to digital!

9 months, 1 week ago Edited
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