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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

"Mama, Don't Take My Kodachrome Away!"

It's a sign of the times. First, we learned that Polaroid film was going the way of the dodo. Now, Kodak has announced that after nearly three-quarters of a century it will be retiring its Kodachrome film at the end of this year. Paul Simon just might have to suck it up and get himself a digital camera.

Things like one-hour photo processing and instant cameras really caught on during the 1970s and '80s. Many old-school photographers weren't happy with such developments (pun intended), but I for one loved being able to see how my pictures turned out the same day I took them. What could be better?

Like most spoiled Americans, I like things now. (Yesterday would be even better.) Thanks to digital photography, it's a real treat to be able to determine immediately whether or not a second or third shot is needed. No more wasted film and, more importantly, no more waiting.

However, as nice as instant gratification can be, there are some things about taking "regular" photos I will miss: Selecting just the right film for the occasion. The chemical smell of a freshly opened package of film. Loading the camera. The tell-tale *click* when snapping a picture. The unmistakable whirring sound of the film rewinding after the final shot. Dropping off the film to be developed and the subsequent anticipation of seeing those pictures for the very first time. Those experiences will be lost forever.

But this is the age of digital, and I'm content to keep up with the times. So, Mama, if you're going to take my Kodachrome away, how about a new Flip video camera?

For a fitting tribute, check out The Kodachrome Project.

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