Photography ... astronomy ... art ... design ... technology
(... and the odd rant)

All of these make my world go 'round, to some extent, and they will all be found here at some time or other. Some of the photography can be purchased from my Redbubble site. I can also be found at Tempus Fugit (no longer being updated).

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

RIP Kodachrome

A couple of days ago, on the northern summer solstice, Kodak announced the end of an era. Kodak: the very name is synonymous with photography, and Kodachrome is a substantial part of the name. Used by professional and amateur photographers the world over, and valued for its many qualities, including colour accuracy, sharpness and archival permanence; immortalized (if it could be any more than it was) in song by Paul Simon, the film that was manufactured for 74 of the 121 years that Kodak has been in business, is history.

Kodachrome was a unique film, requiring a long and complex development process that but a few labs could provide. I knew it only casually, shooting relatively little transparency material, but there was a special thrill in receiving the little yellow boxes in the post, full of card-mounted (as they were then) slides. Now, the advance of emulsion technology, not to mention digital imaging and sheer cold commercial necessity, has brought an end to this venerable icon, as the production lines cease to roll. It's not the first, and certainly not the last, photographic material to reach its use-by date, but it's arguably one of the most poignant. Kodachrome, Cibachrome, Dufaycolour ... when will we see their like again...

Many are wondering whether digital images will be as enduring as those made on this fine material. Only time will tell, but I wouldn't be placing any bets about digital longevity.

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