Ou sont les verts de l’été?

Well, that’s the end of an era.

Kodak have just produced their last batch of Kodachrome 35mm film and it looks as if it’ll all be gone by the end of the year.

If you have some and you want it processing then the only film lab capable of doing it – in Kansas US – will be offering the service until the end of next year – 2010.

I started photography as a hobby in about 1964 and got to the stage where I was developing and enlarging my own colour shots.

Now, of course, it’s mostly digital and although it’s convenient and quick, I don’t think anything can beat the thrill of seeing an image emerge in the developing tray.

The YouTube video below was inevitable as soon as I decided to post this:

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7 Responses

  1. I’m quite sad about that actually. Think i was born in the wrong photographic era. I’ve always taken photos, but got my first SLR in my 20s in the late 90s with the view to eventually developing my own photos. But then digital came along and put pay to that. The romantic in me always imagined it would seem magical watching the picture appear in the darkroom. There was even something special about waiting for the photos to come back from Jessops – now it’s instant gratification.

    Plus i’m left with loads of film SLR equipment that’s redundant! However, have just bought a Pentax digital SLR which i can at least use with my old lenses.

  2. I’m convinced that even with Adobe Photoshop and the smarts to use it properly, there’s a level of skill and area of expertise that we’re going to lose if digital takes over completely.

    Many of the great shots of the past wouldn’t have been half as effective without the people who developed and processed the finished shots.

    Developing at home was never a precise art and I can remember on many occasions taking the same shot and producing many prints of it – all with subtle variations and then just keeping the one print as it had a certain ‘something’.

    Would I do all that now?

    Nah…my trusty Lumix TZ5 is a damn good camera 😉

  3. Many of the great press photographers were very often good darkroom technicians themselves, of course. Working in war zones and the like you had to cover all the bases yourself.

  4. Ha, your lumix one was the model i was going to get if i had gone for a compact. Instead i went for the cheapest slr i could find that was compatible with my lenses – a pentax mz-m. Tis a bit bulky though – yours far easier to carry.

  5. I had an SLR before the Lumix. It was great, but bulky as you say.
    The Lumix is great – I even took some shots of the stars whilst we were in Normandy last New Year.
    Zero ambient light where we were.
    Had a great evening drinking Calvados, dashing out in temperatures of about – 10C, setting the camera for a really long exposure, then dashing in again. All the while just dressed in shorts and a t-shirt due to a massive wood fire inside.
    I obviously got some streaking from the Earth’s motion, but all in all, pretty impressive. Plus the cold air sobered you up ready for more booze…
    Mrs Shark thought I was mad.

  6. I was reading an outpouring of grief that was bordering on mass hysteria on the Kodak website and blog about this piece of news. It was like Lady Di had died all over!

    http://homepage.1000words.kodak.com/default.asp?item=2388083

    Seriously, people fear change, they’ll mostly get over it.

  7. Thanks for that fod – that page has cheered me up no end on a crap day – slight loss of perspective there from the contributers. My favourite comment so far on the loss of Kodachrome is:

    “I feel like I just lost someone close to me, who has given me comfort, bathed in warmth and beauty, ever since I was a child. I just pray that the tyrrany of the marketplace doesn’t destroy film while I am still around to use it.”

    I’m hoping the references to this being the 9/11 for the photographic world were made with tongue firmly in cheek!

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