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 Kodaks 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, McCurrymost famous for his National Geographic cover of an Afghan girl in a refugee camp, shot on Kodachromeloaded 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.) McCurrys final stop, on July 12, 2010: Dwaynes Photo, in Parsons, Kansasthe only lab on Earth that still developed Kodachromewhich halted all such processing in late December.
The Last Roll of Kodachrome