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Author Topic: The last roll of Kodachrome – what would you shoot with the last 36 frames?  (Read 8024 times)

Rienzphotoz

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Got an email from Planet 5D with the below content ... thought it was interesting enough to share

Posted on 03. Mar, 2013 by planetmitch in Stills

I found this on youtube yesterday and wanted to share it… a very poignant story about Steve McCurry’s personal project to use the very last roll of Kodachrome off the production line.

I’d sure have a hard time deciding what to shoot with this monumentally significant last roll of Kodachrome – and from the film, it is obvious that Steve had trouble with it too.

Steve McCurry is very well known and is probably most famous for this cover shot from National Geographic:

As posted in http://blog.planet5d.com/2013/03/the-last-roll-of-kodachrome-what-would-you-shoot-with-the-last-36-frames/

National Geographic: The Last Roll of Kodachrome Small | Large

« Last Edit: March 03, 2013, 11:37:56 AM by Rienzphotoz »
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Mt Spokane Photography

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It was news back in 2010   http://www.npr.org/blogs/pictureshow/2010/07/23/128728114/kodachrome
I guess it came back to life recently.

Don Haines

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I would celebrate by photographing the most photographed subject of all time.... the lens cap :)

Seriously though, wouldn't you hate being under pressure to perform and screw up big time instead?
« Last Edit: March 03, 2013, 12:47:45 PM by Don Haines »
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Mt Spokane Photography

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I would celebrate by photographing the most photographed subject of all time.... the lens cap :)

Seriously though, wouldn't you hate being under pressure to perform and screw up big time instead?

It was the last roll to be developed, not the last roll to be shot.  If he had screwed up, he would just have pulled out another roll and used it / had it developed.
\There are still untold numbers of rolls of the film out there, just no one left to develop them.

hgraf

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Actually no, it was the last roll to come of the production line. I'm sure people are still shooting and developing Kodachrome today.

As for the pressure, this guy shot ALOT of rolls in his life, I don't think there was much pressure. He was using his DSLR to try out the shot and only when he got exactly what he wanted on his DSLR did he pull out his film SLR and commit the shot to film.

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I think you couldn't do this roll less justice than to pre-shoot all pictures of it digitally.

RGF

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 First I would need to find a camera that takes film  :)

Next question, one location or one theme or highlights across time and space.   In honor of kodachrome I would opt for highlights to crown it's long history

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distant.star

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To answer the OP:

I'd load the roll into Steve McCurry's camera, take one picture of him, then turn it over to him for the last 35 shots! The last roll of THAT film deserves a lot better than me!

As for last roll:

Yes, it was the last roll produced by Kodak. If he had screwed it up and put another roll in, that wouldn't have been the last roll. It was also the last roll processed by the last remaining U.S. Kodak processor -- the place in Kansas they document in the film (long time since I first watched that so I don't recall the name).

As for current processing:

I've done research and can find no one on earth processing Kodachrome -- the necessary chemicals just don't exist apparently. I'm sure there are folks with freezers full of Kodachrome film, but it will all probably end up in land fills someday in the future.

Finally, as for doing justice to the last roll:

The greatest justice you could do would be to take perfectly exposed and composed and lighted pictures. I would do whatever it took to make that happen.
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TexPhoto

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I think you couldn't do this roll less justice than to pre-shoot all pictures of it digitally.

I agree.  I honestly think a photowalk through NY city with all the pics taken in the same day would have been more interesting.  Grand Central Station, then Robert Deniro, then India...?

mb66energy

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I would shoot an earthrise from the moon.

That would be a great opportunity to shoot that great film. But I think there is no way to book flights to the moon on the fly - just have seen a lot of movie stuff from those great times 1969 till 1972/3 where the Apollo program was very prominent!
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MrFotoFool

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Young forum members may not realize why Kodachrome is different than other color films.  It is actually a black and white film with no color dies built in - the color is added during the processing stage.  That is also why it is more stable than all the earlier generation color film.  I work at a pro lab and we often scan people's old slides - the kodachromes look great while the ektachromes are all red (or some other color).  BTW the newer films no longer have this problem - especially Fujichrome slide film.

That is also why no one with remaining Kodachrome will ever be able to process it.  The machinery is huge, you need a certified chemist on site, and the chemicals are so toxic they are illegal in many areas.  My lab had to ship ours out to Los Angeles because it was illegal in our county in southern Arizona.  After they stopped doing it and Dwayne's in Kansas was the last place, we just gave people Dwayne's contact info.  Now they are done too.

Back to the original topic, I would shoot one shot at each of America's 36 top national parks.  A shot of the Grand Canyon, as shot of Yosemite Valley, a shot of a redwood at Sequoia, etc.

Ewinter

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A portrait, in different locations, of 36 different people from Kodak. From the chairman to the Janitor.
Get them misty about their jobs, record their thoughts on what they loved about what they did. Get them emotionally built up and then catch images so punchy and full of emotion that anyone who looks through them can't help but think what a shame it is and think about what we've lost

distant.star

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Thanks. That's a lot of great info. While I shot a lot of Kodachrome, I never knew the basis for it. I did experience what you suggest of Kodachrome vs Ektachrome. When I started scanning old slides a few years ago, the Kodachrome, even 20 or 30 years old, was perfect. The Ektachrome was faded, greenish/bluish/pinkish and had to be worked in post to get even close to correct colors.




Young forum members may not realize why Kodachrome is different than other color films.  It is actually a black and white film with no color dies built in - the color is added during the processing stage.  That is also why it is more stable than all the earlier generation color film.  I work at a pro lab and we often scan people's old slides - the kodachromes look great while the ektachromes are all red (or some other color).  BTW the newer films no longer have this problem - especially Fujichrome slide film.

That is also why no one with remaining Kodachrome will ever be able to process it.  The machinery is huge, you need a certified chemist on site, and the chemicals are so toxic they are illegal in many areas.  My lab had to ship ours out to Los Angeles because it was illegal in our county in southern Arizona.  After they stopped doing it and Dwayne's in Kansas was the last place, we just gave people Dwayne's contact info.  Now they are done too.

Back to the original topic, I would shoot one shot at each of America's 36 top national parks.  A shot of the Grand Canyon, as shot of Yosemite Valley, a shot of a redwood at Sequoia, etc.
Walter: Were you listening to The Dude's story? Donny: I was bowling. Walter: So you have no frame of reference here, Donny. You're like a child who wanders into the middle of a movie and wants to know...

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zim

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I think you couldn't do this roll less justice than to pre-shoot all pictures of it digitally.

+1 That's exactly how I felt, but much more politely put than this old Kodachrome user would have managed

Zlatko

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I think you couldn't do this roll less justice than to pre-shoot all pictures of it digitally.

Kodachrome required pretty accurate exposure.  A digital camera is a fantastic light meter.  McCurry certainly knew what he was doing.  I don't see any injustice in that at all. 

About the "last roll" stuff -- I believe McCurry shot the last roll made, but his roll was not the last to be processed.  I'm pretty sure I read somewhere that the owner of Dwayne's lab shot the last roll to be processed.  I've also heard that any remaining rolls of Kodachrome out there can be processed as black & white film, so they are not necessarily useless.

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