Today’s featured video offers a rare glimpse at the city of San Francisco as it looked in 1955. Filmed by amateur filmmaker Tullio Pellegrini, the video provides a narrated tour of the city and its surroundings, complete with a gloriously vintage soundtrack. Pellegrini was also an inventor and tinkerer, and the video’s quality is due to his merging of a 16mm Bell & Howell Cinemascope lens with Kodachrome film. This gem was recently discovered in the Prelinger Archives‘ collection of more than 60,000 advertising, educational, industrial, and amateur films. Watch and wait as the nostalgia hits you.
Photography lovers might want to make a trip to Istanbul this summer to be the first in the world to see the last roll of Kodachrome photos on exhibit at the Istanbul Modern museum. As we reported in December, the film was discontinued in 2009 by Kodak due to the rise of digital photography, and the very last roll of film was processed in Kansas at the end of 2010. The last 36-exposure roll was given to National Geographic photographer Steve McCurry in July 2010, who used it to photograph subjects including Robert de Niro, Bollywood stars, Turkish photojournalist Ara Güler and the Rabari tribe of India. McCurry is best known for his iconic portrait “Afghan Girl” which appeared on the cover of National Geographic in 1985, shot on Kodachrome.
The Last Kodachrome Film will run August 2 to September 4 at the Istanbul Modern, located on Turkey’s Bosphorus Strait. The museum also features a collection of modern and contemporary Turkish artists, and will show another photography exhibition from Turkish artist Lale Tara in August along with the work of Steve McCurry.
Photograph by Steve McCurry, courtesy of National Geographic.
Dwayne’s Photo, located in Parsons, Kansas, hardly seems like a place where history is made. But that is exactly what happened yesterday when the photo shop processed the final rolls of Kodachrome film, effectively bringing the curtain down on one of the most well known brands in the history of photography.
Kodachrome film was originally introduced by Eastman Kodak back in 1935 and is widely recognized as the first successful color film in history. Over the past 75 years, it has been used by many of the world’s top photographers and has captured numerous iconic images. Kodachrome was well known for its outstanding color reproduction and the ability to be stored nearly indefinitely, which helped to garner its legendary status amongst professionals and amateurs. But the process used to develop the photos shot on the film is a complex one which gave rise to a number of photo labs that specialized in developing those images.
In June of last year, Kodak announced that they were ending production of Kodachrome, citing the rise of digital photography for its demise. The company had stopped processing the film themselves several years back, and years of declining sales saw most Kodachrome labs closed down. At the time of the announcement, Dwayne’s Photo was home to the last processing machine in the world, and earlier this year they announced that that machine would shut down on December 30.
With Kodachrome’s expiration date clearly defined, photographers across the globe sprung into action. Many had stockpiled the film over the years and they now scrambled to use their final rolls before the deadline. Yesterday, dozens of them, from across the U.S. and around the world, descended on Dwayne’s to have those final rolls processed. In the end, last roll of Kodachrome to ever be developed actually belongs to Dwayne’s owner Dwayne Steinle.
When that final roll of Kodachrome slipped through the processing machine yesterday, it truly did mark the end of an era. And while most of us have moved on to easy-to-use digital camera options, which offer instant gratification for a new generation of photographers, it is impossible to understate how important Kodachrome has been to the art of photography over the past 75 years. So the next time you pick up your fancy new digital to capture that perfect shot, take a moment to recognize a bygone era and remember that you’ll need to tweak that image in Photoshop just to try to equal the color captured with Kodachrome.