Kodachrome mon amour

Kodachrome at Café Einstein, Berlin, 2009

Or to be accurate, more of a short affair. The one allowed by nine rolls, eight actually, since I decided to keep an unexposed one for nostalgia purposes and also because I just got out of subjects and time to meet the last processing deadline at Dwayne’s. Reasonably short-dated and found for a bargain in the shelf of a photographic store visited during my first stay in Berlin in December 2009, it was hard not to consider it worth a try. So all nine remaining rolls it was.

Menorca. October 2010

It was the first (and last) time I used that film and its rather curious (for me) processing ritual of the nonetheless already legendary prepaid film mailers that came inside the film box. Not even a stamp and up to Kodak’s european headquarters in Lausanne they went, from which they were forwarded to Dwayne’s in Kansas to be processed and sent back. As an overkill as it may look like, it all went in a pretty straightforward way and I think in a couple weeks I had all eight rolls back home, safe and sound and spotless processed.

Binibèquer. Menorca. October 2010

As part of the whole end of what was quite a legendary film, several initiatives came out to grow around its farewell, probably the best known of them being the Kodachrome Project and also the documentaries following the story of the last rolls ever being processed officially, and something more.

Menorca. October 2010

Since then, some claims of home-made DIY color processings came out, but all in all what was meant to be gone, was gone. It was interesting to be a part of it when it was still possible, and I must say that specially under some light conditions, the quality of the colors coming out of it was, pure and simply, unique (which sadly I wasn’t able to fully take advantage from). Being something specially noticeable when projected as a slide and not near as much when on a computer screen or printed, I was quite surprised to see a similar property when I first loaded them in our digital photo frame. Quite a nice  and unexpected discovery.

Camí de Cavalls. Menorca. October 2010

Not that I was actually saddened by its disappearance, being not much of a color user myself, but I can get some people coming significantly upset around its parting. Also because for us, Spaniards, its demise had been already settled de facto several years before Kodak made it official, based on a wide bunch of reasons, each one of them more surrealistic than the previous.

Or in other words, vete tranquilo, que vas bien despachado.


6 thoughts on “Kodachrome mon amour

  1. Ah, Kodachrome II, K25, K64, K200….they were marvelous films. I have a boatload of yellow Kodak boxes filled with those incredible transparencies. The last time I looked, they still looked very nice indeed. I still get a kick ouf of putting my transparencies on a lightbox, everything from those 35mm slides to 6x6cm Ektachrome, Velvia and others….

    • Having been a long term user yes I can imagine you have several boxes of colour treasures there ! I was maybe a bit dumb not to send a roll or two for processing at mid-2010 so I could get a feeling of what was coming out of them. I ended using several rolls during dim winter days in Berlin and that was not probably the best light in order to get the most out of it.

      Thanks for your comment !

  2. Uy, uy, uy, dos cafelitos en la mesa de un bar, una cervecita sobre la mesa de un bar…mucho, mucho hablar de Kodachrome, pero seguro que esas fotos están hechas con el Instagram ese, seguro, anda confiesa… 😉

    • Jojojojo ! 😀 No hombre no ! La primera está hecha con una pequeña Olympus 35RC y con película del Schlecker (que dicho sea de paso como película de color barata es cojonuda), porque además las 9 cajitas de K64 estaban aún sin abrir sobre la mesa…

      Lo que sí aprobarían los modernillos de Instagram es el lugar, el café Einstein de Berlín 🙂

      Y la cervecita en el chiringuito del faro de Cap d’Artrutx en Menorca, esa estaba de escándalo !

  3. Kodachrome was great stuff, filled a niche in its time, but ultimately outlived its usefulness in the commercial world. The Kodachrome process was nasty and difficult to control. I can’t fault Kodak for discontinuing it.

    • Hi Jordan, nice to see you around ! You are right, in the end it is what major money figures in the commercial world dictate and we can say this or that but will have little to no power to counteract it. Makes for nice nostalgia comments and photographs, but as photographers we will use whatever technology or support is available, so no cry over spilled milk 🙂

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