Daily Archives: July 25, 2010

Kodachrome Film Takes Final Journey To Kansas Lab

Last Kodachrome roll processed in Parsons.  The Wichita Eagle. 

Kodachrome film has met its end.  Long held as a favorite slide film for the professional photographer because of the incredible richness of color, Kodac’s iconic film has now been displaced by digital photography.   The film produced by Kodac since 1935, is no more.  The equipment used to process it, now historical relics.  The last processing lab for Kodachrome, in Parsons, Kansas.  The lab, the final meeting place for the film, the photographer, and the National Geographic staff that will document its final  journey. 

Freelance photojournalist Steve McCurry, whose work has graced the pages of National Geographic, laid 36 slides representing the last frames of Kodachrome film on the light board sitting on a counter in Dwayne’s Photo Service in Parsons. 

McMurry chose New York, India, and Parsons, Kansas, where the last images would be captured of places and people. 

If National Geographic does a spread on the journey of this final roll of Kodachrome, McCurry said it will likely come out in the spring 2011 and will consist of only four to six images selected from the roll.

However, Weise said, “The entire 36 frames shot will be sent to the Eastman House in Rochester, New York, where Kodak is based, and live there.”

And just as well, a fitting end to an era for those who honorably captured and processed history.

As the two men stood talking of the end of an era in film manufacturing and processing that affects them both, McCurry presented Steinle with a proposal.

Rather than paying Dwayne’s Photo in cash for the processing of the film, McCurry offered to cut Steinle a deal. In exchange for the processing, McCurry offered to create a special print of one of the slides and have it framed and mounted with a letter of authenticity included and send it to Steinle.

It was a deal Steinle accepted eagerly.

How long before canisters of Kodachrome film in the back of drawers and closets across the country, long forgotten by the rush to harness the ease of digital photography, find themselves on the auction block to the highest bidder for an awesome piece of history?