Mama, Don't Take My Kodachrome Away...

Well, it was inevitable, but it's a little sad anyway. Via Tightwad Tod:

If you're old enough to remember mechanical cameras made of metal and Carousel slide projectors, mark today on your calendar. It’s the day that film died. The film, that is. After 74 years, Eastman Kodak Co., announced it will stop making its iconic Kodachrome, the world’s first commercially successful color film, because hardly anyone’s buying it anymore.

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To celebrate the film’s history, Kodak has created a gallery of seminal images, including the works of McCurry and other heralded photographers. As part of the tribute, Kodak will donate the last rolls of the film to the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film in Rochester, which houses the world’s largest collection of cameras and related artifacts. Steve McCurry will shoot one of those last rolls and his images will also be given to Eastman House. Ironically, McCurry says that he, too, has moved on and no longer shoots with Kodachrome.

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For all its virtues, though, Kodachrome had an Achilles’ heel. The film was complex to manufacture and even moreso to process. Kodak, in fact, sold both film and processing together as a package until the courts labeled the practice a monopoly in 1954. After the ruling, Kodachrome was sold as film and processing could be handled either by independent labs or by Kodak. Today, there remains only one photofinishing lab in the world – Dwayne’s Photo in Parsons, Kansas – that processes Kodachrome. Dwayne’s says it plans to continue processing Kodachrome through the end of December 2010. Kodak estimates that current supplies of Kodachrome will last until early this fall at the current sales pace.