Friday, June 26, 2009

The Death of an Icon

No, I'm not talking about EM, FF or MJ (as sad as they all are) - but come on, this is a photo blog.

I'm talking about the death of Kodachrome. I've been depressed about this for days. I used to work for a company that published elementary and secondary social studies textbooks as their photo editor. What does that entail, you ask? It entails HOURS and HOURS of researching historical photos. My favorites were always the color Kodachrome photos from WWII. No matter what the subject matter, they were always so beautiful! The color reproduction was amazing and nothing since then has ever looked as good. (If anyone knows of a PS action out there that will create that kind of look for me, I'll promise to be your best friend for at least a week. Sorry, MJ - but not the aforementioned MJ. Goodness, this could become confusing.)

So as a tribute to the soon to be unavailable Kodachrome I propose that we all get and develop a roll, just to say we did. There are still plenty of places to get it (I'll list sources later) but only one place left to develop it. But don't fret - Kodak has made a deal with Dwayne's Photo to continue to provide processing until the end of 2010. Because it takes a different chemical concoction than regular chrome film, there are limited places to have it developed. However, I've heard that other developers will still take it and then send it out for you. Check with your favorite neighborhood professional film developer (for those of you that are wondering, I really doubt Walmart is going to help you with this one).

Seriously, it's really sad that they're discontinuing it and we should all be able to play with it at least once. Still don't understand why? Well I'm here to answer that question:

Really, does it get any better than that one?!? Look at the color of that sky!

Can I just tell you how much I LOVE this last one? I think it reminds me of my Dad. I think I may have to take my Kodachrome home and do a photo essay of the old farmers in town.

If you still need more examples to convince you, google Kodachrome or look it upon flickr. When I searched flickr I found 55,637 images that were keyed with with the word Kodachrome. And with it being retired, there are sure to be many more listed soon. There's also a flickr group dedicated to both modern and vintage Kodachrome. Check it out, you won't be disappointed.

So I've been doing some research as I've been writing this on where to get the film. Calumet is the only place I've found that has it in stock (other than one place listed on Amazon but they were charging $25 a roll plus $10 S&H - uh, no thank you). If you find anywhere else that has it in stock, let me know. As for now, I've ordered two rolls from Calumet for $9.95 each, with free UPS ground shipping (can't beat that). I looked into it and I think it's going to be about $10 a roll to be processed. So in the end, it will cost a pretty penny but well worth it in my opinion.

Now I can hear you asking, why should I try this film, Janis? What should I do with it? And I am here to help.

Document the older people in your life using their native film

Make a photo time capsule of your home town or an historical landmark.

Document the younger people in your life because they'll never get the opportunity to do it themselves.

Do a photo essay on your favorite WWII Vet.

I'm sure there are tons of other things you can do but it's lunch time and I'm starving so I'm not going to take the time to list them. But if you've got any grand ideas, feel free to leave a comment and let me know. I LOVE feedback.

And when you get your projects done, link back to my post and forward it on to me so I can check it out too. And I promise when I get mine done, you'll see it here too.

CALUMET UPDATE: I just got an email from Calumet verifying my order and it said (although it didn't mention this face on their website) that the film is backordered and they're waiting for a shipment from Kodak. I ordered from there because EVERYONE else I checked into said it was back ordered and I thought I'd struck oil (or gel as it may be) by finding it here but sadly, they misrepresented. I'll keep you updated and hopefully I'll get my film - eventually. If anyone else finds a source that isn't backorders please let me know! Thanks!