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Goodbye Kodachrome

July 20, 2009

Times are certainly changing and they’ve been doing so quickly in the world of photography for a number of years now. As an art form photography has always been accepting of technology, after all, the actual creation of a picture isn’t done by the artist’s hand, instead it is done by a machine. No doubt the artist is by far the most important aspect of photography, but its a relationship between photographer and camera that may be stronger than any other in art, even painter and brush. After all how many painters do you know that have a collection of completely obsolete brushes they haven’t used in decades on display in their home or studio, memories and loyalty to an inanimate partner in the creation process that they just can’t seem to part with?

There’s a third party in this triangle of creativity however, the actual photographic canvas that all images are created on (or at least were) film. For about a century and a half film was the foundation of photography, without it an image couldn’t be made and each film, much like a snowflake, had its own characteristics that made it unique. Regardless of your need there was a film for every use and one of the most beloved of these films was Kodachrome, with its vivid yet natural colors and unheard of longevity Kodachrome was a staple in photographer’s camera bags for over seven decades. Sadly Kodak announced a few days ago that it will soon stop making the iconic film because of low sells and the difficulty of manufacturing it. But Kodachrome will live on, in the carousels of family slide projectors in homes across the world, in the legendary images that were created on it and even the song that was sung about it.

This certainly marks a milestone in photography, but not a sad one. Photography today is more popular than ever, the digital sensors in today’s cameras have open photography to a new generation of photographers not afraid to pick up a camera and play. Today photography is more popular than ever and its popularity shows no signs of slowing down, so with that I say thank you to Kodachrome, for the nights bright colors, the greens of summer and the wonderful memories it’s helped us remember.

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