Kodak. A name synonymous with "camera." A legend and an icon
in the industry. And yet, even it can't resist technological changes forever. As the world continues to go digital and the idea of shooting on "film" becomes more far-fetched with each passing day, Kodak has been forced to slam the axe on its KODACHROME Color Film. In a tear-jerking announcement made today by the company, it will "retire" said film later this year, which means you should probably stock up now before leftover units start going for 4x MSRP on eBay.
If you'll recall, KODACHROME got going some 74 years ago, which means it'll probably die shortly before its milestone 75th birthday. The product first saw commercial success in 1935, but demand of late has dropped drastically as more photographers turn to newer films and memory cards. Today, KODACHROME Film represents just a fraction of one percent of Kodak’s total sales of still-picture films.
Mary Jane Hellyar, President of Kodak’s Film, Photofinishing and Entertainment Group, had this to say about the announcement: "KODACHROME Film is an iconic product and a testament to Kodak’s long and continuing leadership in imaging technology. It was certainly a difficult decision to retire it, given its rich history. However, the majority of today's photographers have voiced their preference to capture images with newer technology – both film and digital. Kodak remains committed to providing the highest-performing products – both film and digital – to meet those needs.
As part of a tribute to KODACHROME Film, Kodak will donate the last rolls of the film to George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film in Rochester, which houses the world’s largest collection of cameras and related artifacts. McCurry will shoot one of those last rolls and the images will be donated to Eastman House. To celebrate the film’s storied history, Kodak has created a gallery of iconic images, including the Afghan girl and other McCurry photos, as well as others from professional photographers Eric Meola and Peter Guttman on its website: www.kodak.com/go/kodachrometribute. Special podcasts featuring McCurry and Guttman will also be featured on the website.
If you're interested in stocking up, have a listen: Kodak estimates that current supplies of KODACHROME Film will last until early this fall at the current sales pace.