Final Days of Kodachrome at Dwayne's Photo
Dwayne's Photo: The Last Kodachrome Processor
Eastman Kodak discontinued production of Kodachrome film in 2009, as only 1% of its revenue came from sales of Kodachrome film. Photographers began stockpiling their Kodachrome rolls since then. Paul Simon even wrote a song about the film (Kodachrome lyrics).
While the final Kodachrome rolls produced are now museum pieces, photographers have had a new reason to go out and shoot as much film as possible: there is only one Kodachrome processor left in the USA: Dwayne's Photo. You'd think that the last processor of the famed slide film would be in New York or Los Angeles, but no: Dwayne's is in Parsons, Kansas.
Kodachrome Processing Ends December 30
Kodachrome fans have been driving, shipping, and, if they're local, running their film to Dwayne's before it, too, stops processing the famed film.
The time has come. After 75 years of being what Hoover is to vacuum cleaners, Kodachrome will no longer be processed at Dwayne's after December 30. Now users are left with other slide films, which arguably lack the magic of Kodachrome (that particular film has fanboys and -girls the way the iPhone does), or with digital, which, let's be honest, lacks the magic of real-life slide film.
Sure, you can photoshop the crap out of your digital shots to approximate in-camera and film effects, but is it the same? No. Time marches on, though, and, while users say Kodak is insane for discontinuing such a marvelous line of slide film, Kodachrome just wasn't selling in high enough volumes.
In the span of minutes this week, two such visitors arrived. The first was a railroad worker who had driven from Arkansas to pick up 1,580 rolls of film that he had just paid $15,798 to develop. The second was an artist who had driven directly here after flying from London to Wichita, Kan., on her first trip to the United States to turn in three rolls of film and shoot five more before the processing deadline.
The same happened with instamatic cameras: Polaroid wasn't moving enough units to justify continued production. One wonders if enthusiasts will step up, as did The Impossible Project in their Polaroid resurrection mission. Perhaps renegade photo processors will organize an underground Kodachrome processing service, like the electrician in Brazil.