Editor's note: the following is a tongue-in-cheek, oftenirreverent, question and answer column published in the ASMP News solelyfor the entertainment of our readers. It does not necessarily reflect theviews of ASMP, the local chapter or other ASMP members. All opinions andanswers are solely those of the author, and he is welcome to them.Readers' questions about any aspect of photography, or life ingeneral, are welcome and Dr. Photography will answer them in future columns,if he happens to feel like it. Send mail to:
Dear Dr. Photography,
HELP! I've been a Kodachrome shooter for 20years and all of a sudden, Kodachrome processing disappears from the BayArea. Kodalux (Palo Alto) has closed down, The New Lab has discontinuedKodachrome processing, Newell Colour Lab has gone out of business. PanicCity! My life, for as long as I can remember, has revolved around weeklydoses of little yellow boxes. If Kodachrome dies, I don't think I couldgo on living. Last night, I pointed an F4 to my head and fired. Fortunately,it wasn't loaded and I'm still here today. What should I do? Help me beforeI shoot again!
Panicked in Pinole
DP: Whoa! Ease off the coffee, guy.There's more to life than a Kodachrome slide mount. You need to calm downand get your life back together -- maybe stay home and watch TV for a fewdays. Get a grip!
The Great Yellow Father has repeatedly insisted that he has no plansto discontinue production of Kodachrome film, despite possible evidenceto the contrary. However, Kodachrome processing has become, quite frankly,a pain in the butt when compared to the E-6 process. Both Kodak and Fujihave developed some wonderful new E-6 films in recent years that rival thecolor, resolution and archival stability of Kodachrome. Kodalux's decisionto close their Palo Alto plant along with New Lab's discontinuation of theirKodachrome line have dealt a temporary, but serious, blow to photographerslike you, who must now pick up the pieces of their sorry, shattered lives.Yes, it's a little harder to use Kodachrome now, but try to cope with itand think of it as a minor inconvenience. It's really not worth blowingsilver halides through your brain with a perfectly good Nikon.
Taking a favorite film from professional photographers is akin to takinga security blanket away from a two-year-old -- there are bound to be a fewtantrums. Kodak/Kodalux should know that making photographers wait fourdays to get their film back is similar to telling your two-year-old thatevery time he uses his favorite blanket, you're going to take it away forfour days while you wash it. This is not going to make you very popularand is likely to turn your home life into a minor hell for a while.
This correlation between photographers and young children is not completelyabsurd. We tend to get very attached to the things that have always beenthere for us. Imagine how we'd feel if Nikon said they didn't think 35mmcameras were worth their while anymore... if Vivitar decided the portablestrobe market was passé... if Bogen and Gitzo told us that they neverreally liked photographers who relied on tripods. In the case of Kodachromeand its processing, some photographers might be tempted to say "I don'tcare about the environment or the fact that these companies can't make moneyproviding this service to me." Life goes on. Kodachrome is still hereif you really want it. If you absolutely need 2-hour turnaround, E-6 isn'ta bad alternative.
Besides, Kodak could never get away with discontinuing Kodachrome. Thatwould be like trying to do away with all our other old favorites like Panatomic-X,Plus-X, Tri-X or the E-4 process and infrared Ektachrome. It would be asunimaginable as Pan Am going bankrupt... it could never happen!
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