In 1935, a color reversal film (i.e., “slides”) was introduced by Kodak. Kodachrome, as it was named, not only provided brilliantly accurate color rendition, but would retain such accuracy over an archival period of fifty years. Since 1935 you have certainly seen many an image, shot on Kodachrome (ref. the iconic Afghan Girl).

Last week, Kodak announced that it would soon be retiring production of Kodachrome.

While the increasing viability of digital photography played a major role in Kodak coming to this decision, truth be told, the introduction of newer varieties of color reversal films, films with much more saturated colors, is probably what initially catalyzed photographers to move away from the Kodachrome standard.

A photographer friend of mine still refuses to move to the digital realm. He likes to say that, “when the automobile was introduced, they didn’t go out and shoot all the horses, did they?” Well, no they didn’t, but I haven’t seen a horse on the freeway lately. In the same manner, it is unlikely that film production will completely disappear but, rather, move towards a more esoteric and artistic venue.

As for me, I shot my last roll of Kodachrome probably in the early 1990s, and my last roll of film in 2004.

Time, and technology, marches on.

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