Illustrations for a full length historical romance novel by Jenn LeBlanc

Only one person in the world knows exactly how that statement sounds coming from me with all the emotions that support it, but it is akin to a jet engine on take off, and it quite literally means the end. Done. Fin. No, really, back there where I said I was over it? I really was. And this time it’s about Kodachrome. It wouldn’t have really bothered me but I have SEEEEN all of the images in this blog post before, MONTHS ago, when the final roll of Kodachrome rolled off the production line and was handed to Steve McCurry. NPR already did a story in July when he delivered that roll to Dwayne’s Photo Service in Parsons, Kan. where you can now purchase a shirt memorializing the film. And every single image on the NYT Lens Blog has already been seen. It’s old.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to diminish the impact Kodachrome had on the world of photography, and the world as a greater whole in turn,  but I am tired of the fatalistic talk that seems to shroud our industry. We know Kodachrome is dead. We know. WE KNOW. We know it like we know Polaroid is dead… oh… wait.

See, in my opinion, where there’s a will— there’s a way. There are entirely too many bored geniuses in this world to not have someone figure out the chemical dye process needed to develop the hundred, thousands, millions? of rolls of Kodachrome sitting in refrigerators around the world. Oriental paper company was gone, but the formula lived on under another’s careful tending. And let’s not even speak on The Impossible Project. Where there’s a will…there is a way, and not just that but the resurgence of such things often makes them stronger, better even than the original because they are backed with passion— something many original corporations have lost in their rise to conglomeration and domination.

I count one of those as Kodak. (whose current website front page says “it has been a very good year” in a big yellow-orange box, to show you how much they care about US)  More than ten years ago they killed Royal Gold 25, a stunning color negative film. That was the day I started my personal Kodak boycott. After that they killed more, but it didn’t effect me because I’d stopped using their products. None of their slow films were replaced or upgraded or bettered in any way, that’s why I say killed. They killed them. Kodak currently has absolutely no offering slower than 100 ISO. They don’t have the passion for these pursuits that some of us are entangled in, and quite honestly that’s fine by me. I believe in letting the passionate people grab the rein. I don’t believe in the death of anything worthwhile. I think their choice to keep Kodachrome for so long was merely to placate a certain few. Right now I believe Kodak is breathing a collective sigh at being done with something they wish they could have killed long ago.

I also believe that if one person is passionate about something, they alone can make it thrive. This is where my rant started earlier today:

Jenn LeBlanc
  • JennLeBlanc Shut UP about Kodachrome! Oh no! Film is dying! Photography is dying! Journalism is dying! I’m tired of the fatalism. Will=way. 34 minutes ago
  • JennLeBlanc Pull your head out and do something new, something different. This story is old and so is the obsession. It’s been given enough screen time. 33 minutes ago
Then I went over to facebook to clean up the mess, but it had already taken on life,
  • David Manning I miss the rolls of 12 exposures. 29 minutes ago
  • Jenn LeBlanc EGAD! There is so much I miss about film. I was sniffing an old bottle of acetic acid the other day at my studio that I happened upon. I have developed C-41, E-6 and black and white by hand. I have spent 15 minutes in complete darkness with sheet film, praying that I survive without having a heart attack (me=terrified of absolute darkness) then singing to the litte spots that my eyes started fabricating to prove I was still alive.
So I left the mess carried over from twitter, and returned to the scene of the crime which also continued:
Cora Kemp 

Jenn LeBlanc
Cora Kemp
So I figured it was time for a new blog post anyway.
The point is, the industry isn’t dying to those of us who are passionate enough about it to prove everyone wrong.
You only have to look at the drive behind Luceo to see that photojournalism is alive and well, thriving even. Look at Melissa Lyttle and the St. Petersburg Times to see that passionate community journalism and newspaper photography still has a very real place in this world. Kodachrome may not be the go-to film for documentary photographers anymore, but I guarantee it will find a life somewhere else because there ARE people passionate enough about it to make it happen. Just like the Impossible Project, just like the independent photojournalists a Luceo, just like my precious Oriental Paper.
I’m not a hater, I loved Kodachrome, but right now I’m also in love with Velvia, which doesn’t appear to be going anywhere, and is so incredibly juicy in 120. E-6 is safe for now, even if K-12 isn’t. But there are already whisperings of a K-12 processor in Germany over on the Analog Photography Users Group forum.
My greater point —which was prodded on because I was disappointed to see what was basically a rehash of old news and images on very respected photography blog I follow— is that I expect so much more from those of us who soldier on, and I include the NYT Lens blog in that. A quick blurb, maybe, but we have already suffered this loss, move on to show us something new and powerful. Don’t beat a dead horse, and it is dead, we got it, Dwayne’s got it, it’s over and done with. So be done with it. So I issue a challenge to the NYT Lens blog: find me someone who has found a way. Do that and all will be forgiven. 

Illustrations for a full length historical romance novel by Jenn LeBlanc


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