Friday, December 31, 2010

The death of Kodachrome

It's now official, Kodachrome succumbed to progress yesterday, December 30, 2010, as the last rolls of the most famous film ever produced were processed in Parsons, Kansas and the machines silenced forever. For 75 years Kodak produced Kodachrome. But progress marched forward and with the digital revolution the need for film diminished. Kodachrome, alas, was destined for it's great demise.

Snapshots to magazine spreads to advertising assignments all were glorified with Kodachromes bright, vivid colors. It was a different kind of film in that the color dyes were added after the film was processed, which gave it a unique palette. Reds were accentuated, blues popped and greens exploded. As Paul Simon sang, it made all the world a sunny day.

Kodachrome was not for the faint of heart or the sloppy technician. There was no margin of error. Your exposure had to be 100% on the mark or the slide was too dark and muddy or blown out too bright. But when it was right there was nothing like it.

One of my first national award winning images was shot on Kodachrome 25 of a skydiving exhibition. The jumper wore all blue against a deep blue sky. His parachute was also blue with one panel of red. That scene was MADE for Kodachrome. Printed on another long since gone material, Cibachrome, the image was so color intensive it almost hurt the eyes! The PPofA judges scored the print a 98 out of 100, talking two points away for the edge treatment of the print. This was back when it was customary to tape the edge of your print using black tape. My tape was deemed to perfectly straight, even though I used a straight edge as a guide. Still, not bad for a 18 year old kid.

I have that slide to this day, and to this day the colors are as vivid as the moment it was exposed. That was another quality of Kodachrome, it's nearly archival. Images from the very beginning, 75 years ago, are as bright and rich as they were the day they were exposed. Try to say that about digital images in 75 years, if you can even figure out how to access them seven and a half decades from now. Or even 10 or twenty years down the road.

But progress marches on and with each step we take, we lose some in the process. RIP old friend, you will be missed by many.

Happy New Year!!

As we draw 2010 to a close it's time to look back, reflect and thank everyone who has allowed me into their lives this year. It's been a pleasure and an honor to meet you and record one of the most special and important days of your lives.

As you may have noticed, this blog has been pretty quiet lately. It was a busy December. Very busy December. Thanks for my incredible album company we were able to design, print and deliver books right up to the week before Christmas. Our last delivery day felt like I was working at a deli counter as people came in and went out one after the next. It was a very good, warm feeling.

There are some big changes and new challenges on the horizon in 2011. Looking ahead I see a world of opportunities blossoming. Things are taking shape in many directions and I'm thrilled. It's going to be an amazing year.

May the new year bring to you all the joy, happiness, love and prosperity you desire.

See you next year!

Thursday, December 02, 2010