Farewell Kodachrome

I just exposed my last four Kodachrome film canisters. I bought a 50 pack last year when I heard Kodak had finally discontinued the stock. Along with other kinds of film, I have been scanning and posting my Kodachrome pictures on flickr, especially every time I travel back home to Mexico City, an incredibly film sensitive subject, rich in atmosphere, texture and stories to capture.

For a while now, Dwayne’s Photo has been the only lab in the world that develops Kodachrome, but they will stop processing it after the end of this year. I wonder what would have happened if I didn’t manage to finish all my film by then. Would it have been possible to figure out the chemistry and develop the film some other way? Would I be stuck with a bunch of pictures that I would never be able to see?

What is the impact over a medium when a technology becomes obsolete? Many would argue that the disappearance of Kodachrome—or even all film in general—will have little impact on the face of photography. Some even affirm that photography is by nature a digital medium that has been forced to tolerate the shackles of paper and dyes and primitive chemical processes, but I believe a medium is shaped by it’s content, and content is dependent on the tools and materials used to make it. Looking at things this way, one might even think that film and computer photography are two different mediums, and this might not be such a strange thing to think.

Meanwhile, I’ll just start using more Ektachrome, Fuji Velvia, and anything else with a thick photosensitive emulsion that comes my way.

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