The End of Kodachrome


Kodak’s announcement Monday that it will discontinue production of Kodachrome this year made big news everywhere, including here in the halls of the Geographic. Photographers who built careers around the film—legendary for its vibrant, saturated colors—are reflecting on three-quarters of a century of the world captured in Kodachrome.


Traveler Senior Photo Editor Dan Westergren relates the Legend of Kodachrome Flat for the ever-fabulous Intelligent Travel blog. Turns out National Geographic magazine writer and photographer Jack Breed named the feature in what is today Utah’s Kodachrome Basin State Park while on assignment in 1949.


National Geographic photographer Steve McCurry shot more than 800,000 images on Kodachrome, including his iconic cover photograph of an Afghan girl with haunting green eyes. Kodak has invited McCurry to shoot the last roll of Kodachrome film. National Public Radio aired a “technological obituary” of Kodachrome and an interview with Steve McCurry earlier this week.

To celebrate the film, the National Geographic Museum unveils a free exhibit of classic Geographic photographs here at headquarters tomorrow titled Kodachrome Culture: The American Tourist in Europe. I’ve been watching it come together downstairs, and it’s worth a visit!


Photographs by Walter Meayers Edwards, Dan Westergren (from the September 1949 issue of National Geographic magazine), Franc & Jean Shor, and Andrew H. Brown.