Eastman Kodak Company announced yesterday that it will stop manufacturing and marketing of the Kodachrome, the first color film of commercial success and one of the most appreciated by professional photographers.
At 74 years the Kodachrome succumbs to the advancement of digital photography and other advanced art film, which have brought down the sales of these slides and make the process of developing more expensive. “Kodachrome is an icon. It was a difficult decision, given their great history, but most photographers today’s bid to take pictures with newer technologies, both digital and with other films,” said president the division of Kodak film, Mary Jane Helly, in a statement.
At the current pace of sales, the manufacturer estimates that the rolls of Kodachrome will disappear from the shelves around the world at the beginning of autumn in the northern hemisphere. Some of the last reels will be donated to the International Museum of Photography and Film, George Eastman House in Rochester (New York), where the world’s largest collection of cameras and related articles is.
Moreover, it is anticipated that the photographer Steve McCurry, known for his photograph of the Afghan girl (Sharbat Gula)with green eyes who in 1985 was front page of National Geographic magazine, shoot some of the last reels, after which the slides will be displayed in the New York museum. “The first stage of my career was dominated by films and with Kodachrome i did some of my most memorable photographs,” McCurry said in a statement, which acknowledged that after 17 years, he returned to photograph the woman and no longer did it with this kind of film.
Kodak has also created a space on the internet to pay tribute to this type of film, the oldest in the market and one of the most recognized and valued by professionals among other reasons due to the sharpness and duration of its colors. Kodachrome has also been name of one of the popular songs by Paul Simon and also name to a spectacular national park in Utah.
However, it does not involve either a 1% of sales of Kodak film, which in recent years has undertaken a major restructuring of its business to focus on the digital world. This past January, the firm announced plans to cut between 3,500 and 4,500 jobs, although it closed 2008 with a profit of 339 million dollars (287.6 million euros).
70% of its revenue comes from the digital market and, according to Kodak, there is only one laboratory left in the world which develops this type of slides, the Parsons Dwayne’s Photo in Kansas (United States), due to the complexity of the process. After this news and half session at the New York Stock Exchange, the securities fell by 7% and is trading at about $ 2.65, at a time when the major stock indicators lost more than 2%.