Andrew and I have a fondness for Kodachrome that often comes up in our discussions of films photography’s past and future. For my part, I never actually shot much of it. The first time I’d ever bought any was for my 2003 venture to the island nation of Haiti, and nearly all of the film I shot on that trip was stolen or lost coming back into the U.S., so I’ve never seen my own images on Kodachrome.
For me, Kodachrome is the standard with which other color films are measured. It’s that standard that appeared everywhere I found my photographic inspiration as a boy and young man. From Nat Geo to Adams and even in music, Kodachrome embedded itself in our lives and gave us images that were rich with color and full of detail.
When Kodak announced the death of Kodachrome, I had just bought more than a dozen rolls I intended on using during a planned grand adventure out west. With development stopping in December 2010, I gave up hope of ever documenting my own adventures with this legendary film. Still, I intended on shooting every last roll I had out west, that is until January 2011 when I was involved in a car wreck which left me with numerous severe injuries. Because of these injuries, I was unable to go out west and had to cancel my part in the trip. Those rolls of Kodachrome now sit somewhere in a box gathering dust, but not long ago I got ahold of several slides from a garage sale. Sometime later I acquired a small box of Kodachrome transparencies, then after that a few more. Last month I sat down with a lightbox and started looking at them, realizing that hundreds of these transparencies are sold in antique stores, on eBay or just thrown out. And that no one was actively archiving these images. Who was gathering these up? Where were they going? What was being done with them?
“I’ve never seen my own images on Kodachrome. “
“Our hope is that through this series we can share these great photographs, and together remember and appreciate them for all time.”
It seemed to me that so many images from perhaps the most beloved film of all time shouldn’t just disappear never to be seen again. So for the past month, I’ve been actively gathering them up, sorting, and as of 24hrs ago, scanning them. We don’t believe these photographs should vanish for all time. So beginning right now with this post we at Field Photographer are officially launching the Kodachrome Citizen Archive. It’ll live right here on FP, and we’ll be endeavoring to find the best Kodachrome images that would otherwise be lost. From your Grand-Daddy to the box of who knows what discovered at a yard sale. We will be actively curating a collection of the best lost Kodachrome images. If you have pictures, you’d like to share, found in a dusty box in that deepest darkest corner of a basement, you can reach out to us through our contact page here.
We will only, at least for now, be gathering Kodachrome images that would otherwise be gone forever and forgotten about, and only those we consider of note out of these. Most of the transparencies we have at this time have little to no information regarding the photograph. I am currently going through over 700 Kodachrome images. If we have info we will share it and if you believe you have info on an image we share, please contact us. We will not knowingly publish any photograph here that we haven’t purchased or that we have reason to believe we can’t legally share. We have no desire to infringe on anyones image rights, so again if you feel you have info on any photo we share, contact us and let us know. Likewise, we own many of these original Kodachrome transparencies and ask that you not make prints or use these Kodachrome images without permission.
We don’t want Kodachrome to be gone forever and no great photograph should be lost to the ages. Our hope is that through this series we can share these great photographs, together remember and appreciate them for all time. Here at Field Photographer, through The Kodachrome Citizen Archive, Kodachrome will never die. #KodachromeWillNeverDie FP