The Last Roll of Kodachrome

KmH

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Two years ago, photographer Steve McCurry heard the whispers. Due to the digital-photography revolution, Kodak was considering discontinuing one of the most legendary film stocks of all time: Kodachrome, a film which was to color slides what the saxophone was to jazz. McCurry spoke with Kodak’s worldwide-marketing wizard Audrey Jonckheer, hoping to persuade Kodak to bequeath him the very last roll that came off the assembly line in Rochester, New York. They readily agreed. And recently, McCurry—most famous for his National Geographic cover of an Afghan girl in a refugee camp, shot on Kodachrome—loaded his Nikon F6 with the 36-exposure spool and headed east, intending to concentrate on visual artists like himself, relying on his typical mix of portraiture, photojournalism, and street photography

Herewith, presented for the first time in their entirety, are the frames from that historic final roll, which accompanied McCurry from the manufacturing plant in Rochester to his home in Manhattan (where he is a member of the prestigious photo agency Magnum), to Bombay, Rajasthan, Bombay, Istanbul, London, and back to New York. (The camera was X-rayed twice at airports along the way.) McCurry’s final stop, on July 12, 2010: Dwayne’s Photo, in Parsons, Kansas—the only lab on Earth that still developed Kodachrome—which halted all such processing in late December.


The Last Roll of Kodachrome
 

Derrel

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I always liked Kodachrome 64 and Kodachrome 64 Professional films. I shot those a lot in the early- to mid-1980's. Kodachrome 200 came out in the 1980's, and it was kind of a bust--grainy, didn't hold highlights very well, did not last long on the market.

I once shot a multi-day hot air balloon festival way out in the Palouse country of Eastern Washington, in Walla Walla, using up almost all of a brick of Kodachrome 64 Professional. Made some really lovely images of hot air balloons with that film stock.
 

Josh66

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LOL at #29. Proof that everyone just goofs around sometimes.

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I've always been a fan of McCurry - this is the first the I'm seeing this.
 
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ann

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thanks for the posting, almost a :"golden roll". imho
 

tirediron

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Hmmmm... to be honest, I wasn't all that impressed. Some fine images to be sure, but it didn't seem like the sort of effort had gone in to the project that I would have expected McCurry to put into an event of this magnitude.
 

BlackSheep

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There's a group/person (?) compiling Kodachrome slides for a project, I thought that was pretty neat The Project |

My favourite shot that I've seen in the collection so far is this one: Kodachrome Toronto group pool (it's the Kodak Canada building here in Toronto, or what's left of it) ETA - the photo I'm talking about is the one on the far right of the slideshow roll at the bottom when you click on that page, I can't figure out how to link directly to that one picture.
 
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Helen B

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I used Kodachrome 64 for almost all my mountaineering pictures and, thinking back, I used various types of Kodachrome (II, A, 25, 40, 64 and 200) in many formats - Standard 8 (aka Regular 8 and Double 8, 25 ft and 100 ft spools), Super 8 (50 ft and 200 ft cassettes), Double Super 8 (100 ft spools) and 16 mm (100 ft spools and 400 ft cores) as well as the usual still 35 mm. 16 mm Kodachrome was rather good. I never used it in 120 or large format, however.

When you think of all the formats K 25 was in (and to an extent, K 40) I wonder if any other film was similarly available.
 
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cepwin

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Yes, I took a look at the Toronto link...quite a collection of images...looks like they were taken of a number of decades
 

trcapro

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I can't believe only one lab still deals with this legendary film. While I myself went digital a long time ago, I do have a deep affinity for anyone who uses classic film sources. These people are the purists and traditionalist of the art.
 

SCraig

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Hmmmm... to be honest, I wasn't all that impressed. Some fine images to be sure, but it didn't seem like the sort of effort had gone in to the project that I would have expected McCurry to put into an event of this magnitude.
I have to agree. Some of the photos were good but it seemed to me to be more of a "Hurry up and shoot whatever is there and get this done" sort of project. Not what I would envision the last roll of Kodachrome deserving.
 

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