For generations it has been used to capture everything from family memories to world-changing events. But now Kodachrome itself, Kodak’s oldest camera film, is about to become history. The company has decided
to axe Kodachrome as photographers switch to digital cameras.
The first commercially successful colour film, which has been in production for 74 years, accounts for only 1 per cent of the company’s sales of still-picture films. There is only one laboratory in the world still producing it. Its heyday came in the Fifties and Sixties when it was favoured by still and motion-picture photographers for its rich tones and vibrant colours. Many professional photographers feel this richness is missing from modern digital images.
In 1963, Abraham Zapruder used Kodachrome to film President Kennedy’s assassination in Dallas. The film was even immortalised in the 1973 song Kodachrome by Paul Simon. The lyrics read: ‘They give us those nice bright colours. They give us the greens of summers. Makes you think all the world’s a sunny day.’ Kodak estimates stocks of Kodachrome will run out this autumn. It is still sold by some British retailers, including Boots.
‘The majority of today’s photographers have voiced their preference to capture images with newer technology – both film and digital,’ said president of Kodak, Mary Jane Hellyar. ‘Kodachrome is particularly difficult (to retire) because it really has become kind of an icon,’ she added.
Miss Hellyar insisted that despite the demise of the famous film, Kodak would continue to produce camera film ‘as far into the future as possible’. She pointed out that many professional photographers still refuse to go digital.