Kodachrome news
Mar 23rd, 2012 by Ken Hagler

Seen on a mail­ing list:

On demand” could con­ceiv­ably include any film that Kodak has ever man­u­fac­tured. Some­one in the audi­ence asked the inevitable ques­tion: “Includ­ing Kodachrome?” [Bev­er­ly Paster­czyk of East­man Kodak Co.‘s] answer: “Yes, includ­ing Kodachrome”. She added that while small runs of Kodachrome were unlike­ly, it was not out of the ques­tion, since they have had numer­ous inquiries.

To the ques­tion “How could this be made pos­si­ble?” her answer was intrigu­ing. “Vol­ume is the answer. Con­sumer groups of large num­bers of indi­vid­u­als could peti­tion for the return of a spe­cif­ic film. This would include not only large com­pa­nies, but also indi­vid­u­als band­ed togeth­er such as cam­era clubs, espe­cial­ly those with a large enough base such that they could col­lec­tive­ly join on a nation­al or even inter­na­tion­al basis”.

The ques­tion of pro­cess­ing isn’t real­ly addressed here. I seem to remem­ber read­ing that Dwayne’s sold their pro­cess­ing equip­ment after they stopped pro­cess­ing Kodachrome. How­ev­er, if that were dealt with, it occurs to me that anoth­er com­pa­ny could con­ceiv­ably order a pro­duc­tion run and then resell it, like the way that com­pa­nies buy graph­ics cards from a man­u­fac­tur­er and then resell them with their own com­pa­ny name.

Kodachrome cancellation
Jun 22nd, 2009 by Ken Hagler

Kodachrome Ends 74-Year Run.

HaasroseBy Ernst Haas

East­man Kodak announced this morn­ing that it will cease the man­u­fac­ture of Kodachrome this year.

Cel­e­brat­ed in song (lit­er­al­ly!) and sto­ry, Kodachrome is the old­est film in pro­duc­tion and the longest-lived film prod­uct in the entire his­to­ry of pho­tog­ra­phy. Devel­oped by Leopold Godowsky and Leopold Mannes (known as “God and Man” with­in Kodak) in 1935, Kodachrome had excep­tion­al­ly low con­trast (a good thing in a trans­paren­cy film) and an inim­itably rich, beau­ti­ful col­or palette. For decades it was by far the best col­or mate­r­i­al extant. Among oth­er things, for many years around mid-century it rel­e­gat­ed fam­i­lies to long ses­sions in dark­ened rooms with a slide pro­jec­tor and a screen, the best way peo­ple had of show­ing each oth­er their vaca­tion and birth­day par­ty pic­tures. Many lead­ing pho­tog­ra­phers even today, includ­ing Sam Abell, William Albert Allard, and Steve McCur­ry, did much of their impor­tant ear­ly work on Kodachrome.

How­ev­er, it is inher­ent­ly slow and very dif­fi­cult to man­u­fac­ture, and dev­il­ish­ly intri­cate to process. Only one lab in the world is cur­rent­ly pro­cess­ing it—Dwayne’s in Kansas, USA. The best arti­cle about Kodachrome was pub­lished in Pop­u­lar Pho­tog­ra­phy and reprint­ed in the book The Best of Pop­u­lar Pho­tog­ra­phy. (I should be able to pro­vide issue and page num­ber, but I can’t seem to put my hands on it.) Many film users—including avowed Kodachrome fans—have moved away from it in recent years. It cur­rent­ly accounts for less than 1% of Kodak’s shrink­ing film sales.

It might have been ’97 or ’98 that I first wrote about the com­ing demise of Kodachrome, in the pages of Pho­to Tech­niques, at the time Kodak sus­pend­ed in-house pro­cess­ing ser­vices. If mem­o­ry serves, how­ev­er, Kodak promised back then to con­tin­ue man­u­fac­tur­ing the film for at least ten more years. It kept that promise.

GodandmanGod and Man, inven­tors of Kodachrome. I own a large dye trans­fer print of this pic­ture, but I’ve nev­er been sure who was who. I think Godowsky is at the piano. (Thanks to Helen Bach.)

This end was inevitable, but it was cer­tain­ly a fine long run! Not for noth­ing is the press around the world this morn­ing call­ing Kodachrome “one of the icon­ic prod­ucts of the 20th cen­tu­ry.”

Bra­vo to God, Man, Kodachrome, Kodak, and “those nice, bright col­ors.” R.I.P.


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[The Online Pho­tog­ra­ph­er]

Kodachrome is my favorite col­or film. The patent for it has to be long-expired by now, so maybe we’ll get lucky and some­one else will start mak­ing it (under a dif­fer­ent name), the way that Fuji makes Polaroid film.

Ektar 100 impression
Feb 21st, 2009 by Ken Hagler


Sample photo using Ektar 100.

Sam­ple pho­to using Ektar 100.

I tried a roll of Kodak’s new Ektar 100 film. As adver­tised, it has very fine grain. How­ev­er, it suf­fers from the same prob­lem that all C41 films have–you’ll def­i­nite­ly get some col­or, but any resem­blance between the col­or you get out of the film and the col­or that was there in real­i­ty is pure­ly coin­ci­den­tal. I do have a sec­ond roll to try out, but I think I’ll be stick­ing to Kodachrome.

Feb 13th, 2009 by Ken Hagler


Birds in the water at Santa Monica Beach.

Birds in the water at San­ta Mon­i­ca Beach.

Recent­ly I’ve been shoot­ing more Kodachrome.

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