Happy 70th, Kodachrome

When I began shooting slides in 1972 there was only one film I considered: Kodachrome. Since its introduction in 1936 in 35mm cassettes it had gained the favor of pros and amateurs around the globe. Sure, there was Ektachrome, which you could process yourself, and Agfachrome, and those green boxes were appearing in ever greater numbers, but Kodachromes possessed a saturated look unlike anything else that came across a lightbox or spun through a projector.

And then, in a relatively short time, Kodachrome was abandoned; not by Kodak, but by photographers who now preferred the E6 emulsions for their quicker processing turnarounds and fine details. The hare finally caught up to the turtle, and simply passed it by.

If you have a roll in the freezer that you’ve been saving, there is now only one lab in the United States that can process it. That’s right: one. Dwayne’s Photo, in the SE corner of Kansas, continues to offer the K14 process.

Seventy years is an amazingly long lifetime for a little yellow-and-red box. So, light up those candles, take a deep breath, and thanks for making so many of our wishes come true.


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