Kodachrome Goes the Way of the Camera Obscura

Image: Labbyroad

Kodachrome, the film invented in 1935 by Kodak, will retire this year. The LA Times has more:

Eastman Kodak Co., the photography pioneer whose Kodachrome film inspired Paul Simon’s 1973 hit of the same name, said it will retire the 74-year-old product this year after sales dwindled and most labs stopped processing it.

Revenue from Kodachrome represents “a fraction of one percent” of Kodak’s total sales of still-picture films, the company said today in a statement. Kodak derives 70 percent of its revenue from commercial and consumer digital businesses.

The Rochester, New York-based company has seen its profitable film business “evaporate” as digital cameras gained dominance, Chief Executive Officer Antonio Perez said earlier this year. The company lost $4.53 billion in market value in 2008 as it struggled to show investors it had a place in the new technology.

Photofinishing labs that process Kodachrome film have dwindled to one worldwide, Dwayne’s Photo in Parsons, Kansas, Kodak said. The lab will offer processing for the film through 2010, and Kodak estimates Kodachrome film supplies will last until “early fall” of this year, according to the statement.

According to PhotographyBlog
, the final rolls of Kodachrome won’t go to waste:

Steve McCurry, the photojournalist who captured the legendary portrait of the Afghan girl on Kodachrome a quarter of a century ago, will have the privilege of shooting one of the last rolls.

Like Pontiac’s demise earlier this year, Kodachrome’s departure marks the end of an icon. Necessary, but sad.

Written by Drea Knufken

Currently, I create and execute content- and PR strategies for clients, including thought leadership and messaging. I also ghostwrite and produce press releases, white papers, case studies and other collateral.