Kodachrome Takes Its Final Bow

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Thursday marks the end of an era, as the last processing machine to develop Kodachrome film is shut down at a plant in Kansas. However, photography enthusiasts say the demise shouldn’t be blamed on the switch to digital technology.

San Diego photography consultant Ken Rockwell says he just processed his last five rolls of Kodachrome film, which expired in 1986, and it looks fine. But he’s neither sad nor nostalgic about the end of what was the first successful color film.

“Ask everybody who is sitting there scratching their heads saying ‘oh my God, this is horrible,’ when was the last time they purchased a roll of Kodachrome, and when was the last time they actually paid to have it developed,” said Rockwell.

KCBS’ Holly Quan Reports:


That’s why it’s going away, according to Rockwell, because people weren’t buying it anymore. They were buying other, better kinds of film. And while the switch to digital photography, especially from a camera phone, has been widespread, Rockwell says film will never disappear.

What he does blame digital technology for however, is making us lousy photographers.

“It makes serious people who could have been better photographers worse because they get sloppy, and if you don’t care about something – you don’t do good work,” said Rockwell. “If you know you can throw it away, and it doesn’t cost you anything you don’t put a lot of effort into it, and therefore the reason digital pictures can look a lot worse than pictures taken on film is because nobody cares. If the best thing you can say about the digital process is that you can throw it away, then why take that picture in the first place.”

(© 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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