Mamma Don't Take My Kodachrome Away....

"When I think back on all the crap I learned in high school. It's a wonder I can think at all. And though my lack of edu---cation hasn't hurt me none I can read the writing on the wall." ~ Paul Simon

OK, so everyone has probably caught themselves walking around the past day or two humming the old Paul Simon song and lamenting about the end of an era as Kodak announces the end of Kodachrome.

Yep... Kodak is taking your Kodachrome away.

A photography pioneer, Kodak, has announced that it will end production of the 74-year-old product at the end of 2009 citing dwindling sales and noting most labs plan to stop processing it.

Revenues from Kodachrome sales represent "a fraction of 1%" of Kodak's still-picture films, said the company.

The world's first commercially successful color film, Kodachrome enjoyed its heyday in the 1950s and '60s. However, in recent years it has flirted with obscurity with only one commercial lab in the world still processing it.

To quote Paul Simon; "They give us those nice bright colors. They give us the greens of summers. Makes you think all the world's a sunny day. ... So Mama don't take my Kodachrome away."

At Kodak's request, Photojournalist, Steve McCurry, will shoot one of the last rolls of Kodachrome film and donate the images to the George Eastman House. The George Eastman House is museum in upstate Rochester, New York, which honors Kodak's founder. McCurry is known for his widely recognized portrait of an Afghan refugee girl that appeared on the cover of National Geographic in 1985. It was shot on Kodachrome.

Kodachrome was the basis for countless family slideshows on carousel projectors over the years and also for world-renowned images, including Abraham Zapruder's 8-mm. reel of President John F. Kennedy's assassination on Nov. 22, 1963.

Kodachrome was a product that truly served our lives. It did capture the nice bright colors and it did give us the greens of summer... and it did make you remember all the world as a sunny day. What else gives you that? Think about it. Think about the times you sat around looking at family photos. Vacations, birthdays, weddings, graduations, anniversaries... if our memory is kind, Kodachrome was kinder.

I recall being at the final game played at the old Tiger Stadium. The following day Detroit Free Press sportswriter, Mitch Albom, summed up the event perfectly. He noted how when the old players and great names gathered on the field, he looked around in the crowd watching peoples faces. He realized, people weren't jsut recalling the great names that played the game of baseball at "the corner." No, they were recalling the great memories of the times they had GOING to the games. It was about family. It was sons and daughters with their moms and dads or grandparents enjoying a day at the park. The game, the players... even the score, was secondary. It was a part of our lives we spent as a family, together enjoying life.

And isn't THAT what it's all about?

So... here's the question; Over the last few days everyone seems to have had a reaction to this announcement. Is this reaction one of true sadness for the end of a great product? Is it the reality that film is another part of our lives giving way to digital technology? Or is it areaction to our own life and the memories that Kodachrome captured for us, and of us?

Personally, I think it's the latter.

"If you took all the girls I knew when I was single, and brought them all together for one night. I know theyd never match my sweet imagination and everything looks worse in black and white."

Leave a comment... share a memory. Tell us what you think.