Month: December 2010

BBC News – Kodachrome last remaining film roll developed in Kansas

Kodachrome last remaining film roll developed in Kansas

Kodachrome ad Kodachrome was the first commercial film to successfully shoot in colour

The final roll of Kodachrome film, a widely-lauded quality colour film, is to be developed in Kansas on Thursday.

Kodak announced it was discontinuing the iconic film in 2009, after competition from digital cameras caused a large sales decline.

Kodachrome is difficult to process, requiring expert handlers, and Dwayne’s Photo in Kansas is the sole remaining developer.

The last film to be developed was shot by the owner, Dwayne Steinle.

Kodachrome film is renowned for its exceptional rendering of colour, vivid images and archival longevity. For many years, it was the preferred brand for print media.

Created in 1935, it was the first commercial film to successfully shoot in colour.

Kodachrome was also used for motion pictures.

Dwayne’s Photo has been inundated with requests for developing, many from photographers who had been hoarding the coveted film for years.

One customer picked up 1,580 rolls of film used solely to shoot railroad engines. The nearly 50,000 slides cost $15,798 (??10,200) to develop.

BBC photo editor Phil Coomes has been documenting his own final days with Kodachrome, as well as collecting reader photographs on his BBC blog.

Afghan Girl

Sharbat Gula, Afghan Girl, at Nasir Bagh refugee camp near Peshawar, Pakistan, 1984. The Afghan Girl photo is recognized around the world (Courtesy of Steve McCurry/Magnum Photos)

One of Kodachrome’s most famous admirers is National Geographic’s Steve McCurry, the photojournalist who captured the world’s attention with a haunting 1984 cover photograph of Sharbat Gula, an Afghan refugee girl with stunning green eyes.

Ms Gula, whose identity remained unknown for many years, did not see the image until a documentary film crew located her in 2003.

Although Mr Steinle developed his own Kodachrome roll last, Kodak gave the final roll it produced to Mr McCurry.

With just 36 frames to use, he travelled to India to photograph a tribe on the verge of extinction.

Mr McCurry also shot images of New York, Kansas and actor Robert DeNiro in a journey filmed as a documentary by National Geographic.

He hand-delivered the last roll to Dwayne’s Photo earlier this year.

“I wasn’t going to take any chances,” he told the New York Times.

The National Geographic film is likely to air in spring 2011.

The end of an era…


Elizabeth ‘Win’ Pope

You would have liked my Grandma – she was amazing.


She was warm and wise and knew what was what. She was pretty feisty too – she, my dad and I used to row a lot about ridiculous things at the dinner table, and you wouldn’t believe that such a tiny lady could be as loud as she was when she was yelling at the ref at the rugby, or shouting home a horse she’d backed at Cheltenham.

I love this blurry old photo of her and my brother – there’s a twinkle in her eye and my brother looks so happy. She died four years ago today and I miss her.