I tried out my first ever 35mm roll of Fuji Velvia 50 (‘RVP’) in mid 1990, not very long after it became available in Australia. It totally blew my mind and I was instantly hooked. Back then I was living in Melbourne and my job on a fisheries research project provided some great photo opportunities …
A recent clean-up in the end room of our house resulted in a pile of junk being removed from on top of my light box, a glorious 1.4m long expanse of slide-viewing luxury made for me by my brother many years ago, which sits on top of two, two-drawer filing cabinets, oriented back-to-back, each full …
Some of us know Kodachrome from the iconic Afghan Girl photo by National Geographic’s Steve McCurry. Some of us might even have watched the 2017 movie of the same name, about an estranged son trying to develop the last few rolls of exposed Kodachrome from his late father. Some of us, lucky enough, might have even shot, developed and marvelled at those glorious Kodachrome slides on a light table or through a projector.
But Kodachrome is no more: Kodak stopped its production in 2009, while Dwayne’s (the last lab that processed Kodachrome, and featured in the movie) ran out of K-14 chemistry in 2010. So it became more a memory of the past, like many other discontinued film stocks. But Kodachrome holds a special place in many photographer’s hearts, a nostalgic milestone in the photographic journey.
Then I found 6 rolls of Kodachrome.
My mother presented me with a mixed collection of my late father’s transparencies on one of my visits. Mostly good family photos as expected, but also photographs of a few places he had visited on his frequent international business trips away from England. Dad would often set up the projector on his return and give us children a slide show of his latest trip which were fun and educational, but I don’t remember seeing these photos from New York. Not surprising really, because as far as I can tell these images were shot in either 1962 or 1963 when I was only about four or five years old.
Any film photographer who saw an advertisement for Kodachrome likely reacted as I did: “Gee, I really should check out that movie.” If you follow through, you might be disappointed that the story is about shooting slide film to the extent that acclaimed thriller Drive of a few years back was about an automobile race (the confusion the subject of ongoing litigation), but you would be rewarded with a family drama that is not only as much about family as possible but also as much a drama as imaginable.