After 75 years, the color film Kodachrome is neither sold nor processed. The last place that developed Kodachrome photographs was Dwayne's Photo in Parsons, Kansas. Over the past year, photographers from all over the world have brought film to Dwayne's for developing before it's too late.
Among the recent visitors was Steve McCurry, a photographer whose work has appeared for decades in National Geographic including his well-known cover portrait, shot in Kodachrome, of a Afghan girl that highlights what he describes as the “sublime quality” of the film. When Kodak stopped producing the film last year, the company gave him the last roll, which he hand-delivered to Parsons. “I wasn’t going to take any chances,” he explained.
At the peak, there were about 25 labs worldwide that processed Kodachrome, but the last Kodak-run facility in the United States closed several years ago, then the one in Japan and then the one in Switzerland. Since then, all that was left has been Dwayne’s Photo. Last year, Kodak stopped producing the chemicals needed to develop the film, providing the business with enough to continue processing through the end of 2010. And last week, right on schedule, the lab opened up the last canister of blue dye.
Today was the final day for Kodachrome processing. So many people wanted the honor of being the last Kodachrome customer that it was decided that the photo shop proprietor Dwayne Steinle himself would shoot the roll of film to be processed last. Link
(Image credit: Steve Hebert for The New York Times)