First we said good-bye to Polaroid, now it's Kodachrome. What's a film sentimentalist to do? After 74 years of making the color film used by many of photography's greats, Kodak announced Monday that it's ending Kodachrome's production.
Kodachrome makes up less than 1 percent of Kodak's total sales for still film, according to the company. Digital cameras are obviously the main culprit contributing to Kodachrome's demise, but photographers are also using newer kinds of color film that are easier to process. Only one photofinishing lab in the world still processes Kodachrome--Dwayne's Photo in Parsons, Kan.
Photographers like Kodachrome for its warm colors and fine grain, which are perfect for shooting portraits. The famous portrait of the Afghan refugee girl with the bright green eyes that graced the cover of National Geographic in 1985 was taken with Kodachrome film by Steve McCurry. But even McCurry has moved onto digital and other still film.
Even though Kodachrome is largely known as still film, it has also been made for movie formats, including 16mm. In the past three years, Kodak has come out with several new professional still films and motion picture films.
Kodak is donating its last rolls of Kodachrome to the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film in Rochester, N.Y. One of these last rolls will be shot by McCurry, with the photos donated to the museum. Dwayne's Photo said it will continue to process any leftover Kodachrome until 2010.