The end of the Kodachrome epoc


A few hours ago, the last roll of Kodachrome came out of the developing soup at Dwayne’s Photo in the small town of Parson’s, Kansas.

From the time the film was created in 1935 until the last hours of 2011, Kodachrome produced some of the greatest colour photographs of the Twentieth Century (and a few in the Twenty-first)

The end has come for Kodachrome.

So it is entirely appropriate that I choose to use this image, taken in Kodachrome  at Speakers Corner, Hyde Park London, back in 1978 for this blog.   Although I have seen the  “The End is at Hand” image in countless cartoons, especially, of course, in the New Yorker, this is the only time I have actually seen and photographed such a sign.

Last February, after Kodak announced the end of Kodachrome, I posted  on the blog some of the few favourite shots I took with Kodachrome, of my 1976 visit to Pompeii

I said at the time. “You don’t know what you’ve got till  it’s gone,” quoting, of course, the Joannie Mitchell song. 

I also said I would post more photos, but taking early retirement, selling a house, moving across the country and getting settled in took up much of time.,

Now the Kodachrome epoc has ended, I have gone through the all to few Kodachrome images I shot. As I said in an e-mail to a friend I was a kid (the first roll was shot when I had just turned 15, the last when I was  35) for someone with not much money, it was more convenient both in budget and time to shoot Ektachrome or another colour slide film. Then it was more convenient to shoot digital.

So I have created a photo gallery called Kodachrome and the kid

275-kodakchromeblog.jpgThe first roll was shot on Dominion Day (now Canada Day) July 1, 1965, in my old and now home town of Kitimat, BC, during the Dominion Day parade.  I shot two cameras, an old Kodak 620 using black and white and my father’s battered viewfinder camera (I hope it was a Leica, but I can’t remember). I must have been a budding photojournalist even then, the subsequent roll, likely Ektachrome, shows that I was running across the street to get  different angles.

The next two photos don’t jog my memory. One is of Jesse Falls, which flows into Douglas Channel south of Kitimat and the other appears to be a river rapids.  I have no memory of any boat or river trips or taking those pictures.

The next photographs are from my post university back packing trip to Europe.  I bought a few rolls of Kodachrome and used the film for some special areas.  The first was the Essex coast,  where my father grew up.  Next ones are from my two day hike along the central portion of Hadrian’s Wall. I am not posting the standard, cliched shot of the wall when it climbs a hill near Housesteads, but a couple from the fort at Corbridge and a portion of fortifications along the River Tyne, south of the wall.   There are images from the River Rhine castle cruise and finally a shot of the Roman Forum (after which I was running out of money and film and bought more Ektachrome).

The next few images are back in London in 1978 at Speakers Corner, a year later from San Fransisco (again on both trips I shot mostly Ektachrome).   The last images are from the time around Christmas 1985.

All I can say, like many, I wish I had shot more.

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