The Celebration of 75 years of Kodachrome history, did we make it? Well, sort of...
On June 22nd, 2009, Eastman Kodak Company announced the retirement of Kodachrome film concluding 74 years of production. The good news is that Kodak is officially supporting the product with expiration dates into 11/2010 and K-14 processing service until the end of next year, the 75th anniversary. So for all intents and purposes, we can still celebrate 75 years of using the film.
In the summer of 2004, it dawned on me that I need to do a project on Kodachrome before I find that it is simply too late. The reasons that resonated most with me were both my childhood usage and viewing of the film and how those experiences built up in my own approach to photography. The notion of an opportunity not missed was what sealed the deal. So for nearly 5 years, I have sought to urge both the public and Kodak to keep the film and more importantly, the processing around long enough to be able to visually celebrate the 75th year of Kodachrome use. I applaud Kodak for having done this in what are truly challenging times for any large corporation, much less one trying to find it's identity and niche in the digital age.
Kodachrome is a very unique film that has played a major roll documenting much of the last century of our world's history. It has encapsulated many important eras preserving them safely in the cradle of its superior archival properties. As a result, Kodachrome's 75 year lifespan will have become an era in its own right; an era deserving of its own preservation effort. This is a call to all of Kodachrome's admirers the world over to let this be an excuse to explore your vision, your world, and yourself with renewed vigor. Be inspired. Don't just look for color or form that would lend itself well to the film. Instead, look for the greater meaning; the meaning of what it is to see, feel, and respond to the world around you like no other being on Earth can. But above all, use the film before it is too late.
It is my sincere intent and hope that the work that comes of the Kodachrome Project truly helps to bookend the end of a colorful and wondrous era known as Kodachrome. So help me in creating a wonderful and lasting body of photography that speaks not only of the Kodachrome era, but what we can do to bridge it with future ones, for there will never be another Kodachrome.
Thank you and welcome to the Kodachrome Project!
Copyright Dan Bayer 2009
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