The magic of Kodachrome I: Pompeii

How many times do we say “if I had a chance to do it all over again….”

Well, if I had a chance to do it all over again, I would have shot more Kodachrome.  Joni Mitchell was right, “You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone.”

In all those years, I only shot a few rolls. Why? For a poor student back in the 70s, I thought it was too expensive.  It was also more convenient to get Ektachrome and take it to a 24-hour custom lab in Toronto rather than mailing it away and waiting a couple of weeks. (Or so I thought back then).

A couple of coincidences came together in the past week or so.
First,  I love old steam engines and the age of steam on the railways. The current issue of Classic Trains magazine celebrates the end of steam in North America 60 years ago.  The magazine style are stories of rail fan memoir and personal experiences.   To my surprise , these memoirs by men who were teenagers (youngest 14) or college students in 1960, shot Kodachrome. There were lots of those rich Kodachromes in the issue, capturing those last days of  smoke belching black engines. So it shows, I  probably should have shot more Kodachrome.

Second: I was looking for an old shot for possible use in a story I was writing for Although the shot eventually wasn’t used, the image was in a yellow plastic box of Kodachrome slides that I had taken during my post-university  backpacking trip to Europe.
I scanned that one image, then decided to scan some more.

My visit to Pompeii in September, 1976..


The ruined town of Pompeii with Mt. Vesuvius in the background, September 1976 (Robin Rowland)

This is one om my favourite shots from my visit.


The ampitheatre in Pompeii, September 1976  (Robin Rowland)

The gladiators who fought in that arena were trained in the nearby Gladiators’ School.


The school for gladiators, Pompeii. September 1976. (Robin Rowland)


The forum in Pompeii, September 1976.  (Robin Rowland)


A street in Pompeii. September, 1976. (Robin Rowland)


The theatre at Pompeii, September, 1976.

There are more shots of Pompeii and others from that trip back in 1976 on my Photoshelter site.

In the next week or so, depending on work load, I will upload a second set of Kodachrome images from that trip, the Rhine River castle tour on a day of pouring rain.