I guess Paul Simon is disappointed, because they finally did take his Kodachrome away, it having fallen victim to digital photography and the highly exacting and difficult chemistry required to process Kodachrome film. It’s a shame, though, because Kodachrome film has a high degree of color stability over time, and really does give “nice bright colors,” which is why it was often sought out by professional photographers. Some of the most famous pictures were taken with Kodachrome film, like this one, and this one.
Now there’s a gallery making its way around the blogosphere that shows some amazing Kodachrome photos from the Black and White era [Link removed because the Denver Post works with the scum of the earth], the late 30s, early 40s. These would be Kodachrome photos because that process having been introduced in 1935, and the color hues look like the film. You can see the rich color, and note that even after all this time, they still look very good; a tribute to the film’s stability.Â Ektachrome, the cheaper, easier to process color film technology,Â wasn’t introduced until 1942, and as any kid who grew up in the 70s can attest if they look at their kid pictures today, it’s not all that stable; the pictures lose their colorÂ truenessÂ over time.
But nothing is as stable as digital photos. Assuming we don’t have a collapse of civilization, and lose digital technology, kids 5000 years from now will be looking at pictures from this era that look exactly the same then as they do now. Kodak discontinued Kodachrome in 2009, citing lack of demand. There’s still one lab in the country who can process the film, and they will cease processing at the end of 2010. The last Kodachrome photograph has yet to be processed, but that will soon happen. It’ll be the end of an era when it is.
UPDATE: You can see here that different types of films can be simulated digitally.