In December of 2010, when the last rolls of Kodachrome were processed, (one of them mine), I became melancholy and wrote a very short personal perspective on this iconic film. What you see below is the result.
Rewind about 50 years and…
…in the mid 1960’s I got my first camera; a Kodak Instamatic 100 and I shot Kodachrome film. Kodak Instamatic’s shot 126 cartridge film which was available in Kodachrome. I’ve no idea what the film speed was, but it must have been 64.
After a few years, baseball, football and girls overtook my interest in photography. I didn’t shoot another roll of Kodachrome until 1983, when I bought and shot my first SLR; a Canon A1.
You see, my insightful, genius wife decided I needed a hobby. After months of trying to decide what interested me, photography was the selection. I always did enjoy my little Kodak Instamatic!
Now with my hobby selected and no knowledge or experience, I performed research for months, reading photo magazines and books. Ultimately, I selected the Canon A1, as it seemed to be the most versatile camera on the market in a 35mm format at the time.
Needless to say, the first role of film I loaded into that beauty and shot with an SLR was Kodachrome 64. A couple of the slides still remain in my slide boxes. I didn’t shoot Kodachrome exclusively. I was always experimenting with Ektachrome, Agfachrome, Fujichrome etc., but there was, and still is, a mystique about Kodachrome.
I shot a lot until the late 90’s, and then as digital cameras came of age, my mint condition EOS-1 sat in the closet for several years unused. I ultimately made an emotional trade for a Canon Rebel XTi. It was very difficult to go from a high quality film camera and enter into the digital world of plastic, less than 100% viewfinders and, as I found out later, no “full frame”!
I lost touch with film, I wasn’t even sure if any film was being made besides drug store brand print films. I had gone to the digital hell of plastic, beeping cameras, electronics, auto focus, shoot & delete, upload, email and save.
Last year (2009 at the time of writing), I was saved. My oldest son enlightened me that film was still alive and had a following (I still have over 600 vinyl LP’s and my turntable is still connected to my stereo).
I bought another Canon EOS-1 and some Kodachrome. It was a short run, but I’m glad I had a chance to play in the analog garden of Kodachrome for a year. I’m waiting for my last role to return from Kansas. While I don’t have any great expectations of this roll (shot it in the house, since it was about 10 degrees with a foot of snow on the ground) I think I will save all of the slides. My normal edit pattern is to toss the slides I don’t like.
As soon as I found out the film was discontinued I went from shock to disappointment to nearly depression. . On the contrary, I am more techie than most my age, but there is room for both.
I’ve grown to love all the positive benefits of digital photography, but in the end, my hobbies are also tactile. You just can’t find anything quite as satisfying as loading a fresh role of film (smell it), and releasing the shutter on a quality film camera, feeling the heft of it as you lift it. Then you wait in anticipation for your Kodachrome slides to return safely home and you find one or two beauties you knew would be there.
That my friends is Photographic Nirvana. That was Kodachrome for me.
Thanks for reading,
~ Perry J. Resnick
Share your knowledge, story or project
At the heart of EMULSIVE is the concept of helping promote the transfer of knowledge across the film photography community. You can support this goal by contributing your thoughts, work, experiences and ideas to inspire the hundreds of thousands of people who read these pages each month. Check out the submission guide here.
If you like what you're reading you can also help this personal passion project by heading on over to the EMULSIVE Patreon page and giving as little as a dollar a month. There's also print and apparel over at Society 6, currently showcasing over two dozen t-shirt designs and over a dozen unique photographs available for purchase.