The look of Kodak Kodachrome slide film

This is another post in my ‘Look of‘ series and this one looks at, in my opinion, the king of colour slide films – Kodachrome.

For anyone who isn’t aware, Kodachrome was a film emulsion which had a specific, proprietary development process which only Kodak or a licensed process lab could develop. Kodak stopped producing the film in 2009 and the last processing lab closed in late 2010 which means that it is no longer possible to buy the film or to develop exposed films which you may find in second hand camera or laying about in a drawer at home. It is possible to recover black & white images from exposed Kodachrome film, but the fantastic colour rendition of the original film is now lost for ever.

When it comes to the images in this post, I’m still somewhat experimenting to find the best way to try to capture the real ‘look’ of the film. In this post I’ve done something a bit different from the other posts and as well as providing a set of scans which have been scanned without any post processing or adjustment, I’ve also scanned the images with the exposure adjusted and some sharpening applied. These adjusted scans are included in the gallery below directly next to the ‘base line’ scan.

As a collector of colour slides, Kodachrome has a number of advantages. For a start, the vast majority of slides have the processing date either printed or stamped onto the slide mount therefore giving an absolute latest date any particular picture could have been taken. Of course, the image could have been taken up to a couple of years prior to the processing date, because the film would have been left in the camera between film changes, but it couldn’t have been after!

Another huge advantage to Kodachrome is the quality of the image and depth of colour the film provides even many years after the film was processed – something which I hope this post will show. Some of the images in the gallery below were taken in 1963 which is nearly 60 years ago and the image doesn’t seem to have degraded in any way. I’ve seen other images in the published found-film photo archive taken on Kodachrome film which were taken in the 1940s and still have the same fantastic look.

Kodachrome images

These are the selection of images I’ve chosen from the thousands available in the found-film collection. None of these have appeared in the photo archive page and I’ve tried to select a general range of exposures and scenes to show what the film was capable of.

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