Monday, January 3, 2011

Don't Take my Kodachrome Away....

Remember film?

What a silly question - of COURSE you remember film!  If you're under the age of 20, however, it might be just become one of those fading childhood memories.

I'm 42 and when I was a kid, my parents only used Kodak film.  We had one of those 110 format cameras - really long and thin, the kind that you just popped the roll of film in.  I got my wish in 1982 when I received a Polaroid camera and two packs of film for Christmas.  I loved that loud "ERRR er ERRRR" sound that it made when the film popped out, and I loved watching it develop before my eyes (I think my penchant for Polaroid had something to do with my lack of any attention span - the Interwebs was made for me!).

I have to admit that I became a little wistful when I heard that the last Kodachrome was processed four short days ago in a lab in Kansas, thus ending its 75-year run.  I know that Holga and pinhole cameras and film cameras still exist, but this news seems to announce to the world that the film industry is vanishing and in one short decade, digital cameras have nearly obliterated the way we thought of cameras for 140 years before.  And why not?  No more guessing.  No more wasted money on prints that don't turn out.  The cost savings with digital is amazing - no film OR processing!  It's cheaper to take photos now than it was 40 years ago!  We can instantly share our photos with anyone on the planet!  It's changed the way we live our lives, for better or worse.  We've known all of this for years now.

Still, I can't help but feel a little melancholy for the ending of an era.

So to keep that era alive, I like to use vintage film stuff - slide frames, old film envelopes, vintage ads - in my artwork:

P.S.  Yes, I do see the irony of doing a blog entry about the end of the film era while digitally uploading photos made with vintage film items.  :D


  1. I was born in '83, making me a whopping 27 years old and my first camera had 110 film! It was blue and yellow, and pretty sure made by Kodak.

    I'm sad too to see film on it's way out. In high school and college, I spent a lot of time in the dark room developing film. There was just something about it that I loved and was more than happy to spend all my free time in there! I really think future generations are missing out!

    ~Janel Hafemann~

  2. i am right there with you. most of my work at present is digitally done in PSE & CS5 but i am a fiend for using vintage photo effects, particularly looks from the 60s & 70s. my goal is to pay homage to the beauty of an analog era while staying cutting edge in a digital world. a holga camera is on my wishlist & i currently have a polaroid instamatic....:)

  3. Thanks for your great comments, Janel & Dani! :D I wonder if, in the future, film will be considered a medium that will be studied like oils or sculpture with an emphasis on process as much as the images themselves. It'll be interesting to see! :D

  4. Heh Mel - I heard about this on the BBC while we were on holiday in Canada. I collected some pieces to make an ATC as a tribute - will let you know when done. Love yours. And yes it is sad - being born in the (ahem) 50's I have some nostalgia for it...wonder what goes the way of the Dodo next?

  5. One of the Cream City Flickrites made a pilgrimage for this (and took photos of course)
    He posted some of his pix here
    (but he's still getting his film developed)
    I remember when I used to say that I would use film because it was more archivally sound, and then I switched to digital and never looked back :P

  6. Thanks for your comments Jewels and Carolyn! :D Jewels, have you made your ATC yet? :D I also wonder what will be the next 20th century casualty.
    Carolyn, I know quite a few people (Brian included) that vowed they'd never go the digital route - but when you discover the ease and all the money saved on purchasing and developing film, not to mention the instant gratification factor - it's really hard to resist. :D