If you have any Kodachrome Film stashed away, the last days to get it developed are at hand. According to Dwayne’s Photo, the last commercial developer of the film format, they will be developing their last received rolls of Kodachrome film on December 31, 2010. After this date, their remaining equipment to handle this type of film will be shut down forever, and discarded. Per the statement on their website:
The last day of processing for all types of Kodachrome film will be December 30th, 2010. The last day Kodak will accept prepaid Kodachrome film in Europe is November 30th, 2010. Film that is not in our lab by noon on December 30th will not be processed.
To be sure, this deadline has been known for a while now, since the announcement by Kodak that it had manufactured its last run of the film format. Still, people have continued to use Kodachrome up to the present.
What is purported to be the last roll of Kodachrome film ever made by Kodak was shot and developed in July of this year, by Freelance photjournalist Steve McCurry:
There are definite advantages to digital photography by comparison to film, McCurry said.
“You have the ability to view, edit and monitor what we are doing as we go. We can evaluate the light and composition and the design instantly. And we can shoot in extremely low light, which was impossible with film.”
Regardless, digital photography is simply not the same.
“I like having something to hold in my hand,” McCurry said. “With digital photography, it’s just a hard drive. With Kodachrome, the film is real. You can touch it, put it in a drawer, and come back to it later. It’s tangible. It’s an object. With digital, the pictures only exist in a hard drive, in a memory chip.”
It’s that last statement which still brings hope to film’s future, as it’s the psychological connection with film among some photographers that keeps them coming back to it. Although sales of digital cameras have been rising dramatically in recent years, including the increasing prevalence of consumer-grade digital still and video cameras in cell phones, Kodak claims that sales of analog film have been steady, including a potential mini-resurgence of film as a strong niche format.