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Penn Stater Shoots Last Roll of Kodachrome

For 75 years, Kodachrome has been the film of choice for thousands of film photographers around the world. It has been used to take some of the most iconic images of our time. Last year, Kodak, the maker of the film, announced that it would be ceasing production of the most well known film type of all time (it’s even got a Paul Simon song about it), it saddened a photographer who had been using the product for over 35 years.

Photographer Steve McCurry is known as one of the world’s finest image makers, whose pictures have graced the cover of dozens of magazines. One such image is Afghan Girl (below), regarded by many to be the greatest image ever published in National Geographic Magazine. McCurry is a graduate of the Penn State College of Arts and Architecture. When McCurry heard that Kodak would be ending production of Kodachrome, he and National Geographic contacted Kodak and asked for the last roll to come off the production line. McCurry spent 2 months capturing 36 images in New York City, India (where some of McCurry’s most iconic images were made) and Parsons, Kansas.

You might be asking, “Why Parsons, Kansas?” The answer lies with the film. Kodachrome is a notoriously difficult film to process, so much so that there is currently only one place in the entire world that still develops it. Dwayne’s Photo Service in Parsons, Kansas is that one place. The last 3 frames of the roll were shot in Parsons. “It’s definitely the end of an era,” McCurry told the Wichita Eagle. “It [Kodachrome] has such a wonderful color palette … a poetic look, not particularly garish or cartoonish, but wonderful, true colors that were vibrant, but true to what you were shooting.”

The photos, and the journey behind them, will be published in National Geographic sometime in spring 2011.

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About the Author

Chase Tralka

Chase Tralka is a Senior majoring in Information Sciences and Technology with a minor in Security and Risk Analysis. He is from Northern New Jersey and is involved in far too many organizations to list here. He enjoys photography, cycling, and listening to obscure free jazz music.

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