Tuesday morning. Guardian read of the day... And a shocking news - for me: Kodak is taking its 'Kodachrome' product range off the market. Kodak's decision is quite understandable. That type of film, which most of those among us below 30 do not really remember, does not sell any more with the rise of ever better equipment and tools for good, expert digital photography.
It is true that, being myself a regular user of these films - including when you could still find them in a black-and-white type -, I have gradually given them up for black-and-white and colour printed photography (but I always kept the 'négatifs' in good place), and then for digital cameras. Still I was totally gutted at the news. That news for me means the fading away of a past when not everything was digital. Then cartoons and animated movies were drawn by hand, and taking pictures was seen as an act to do properly, not in a consuming mode.
Once the centre of the attention and the occasion of to-be-paid-for public showing, my beloved film stripes will need historical and archival protection. My father being a highly skilled amateur ornithologist and photographer too, I have had a childhood happily filled with trips to remote places where to look out for eagles, falcons and vultures to take 'diapositives' of. Back from holidays we all had this excitement of waiting for the films to be processed and then pick them up and at last watch these pictures we had been dreaming off for weeks. To watch them, you would buy a light table so that you would see them better (it's better than staring through it with a desk lamp behind) or a special projector in which your pictures, carefully inserted into small plastic supports, would stick and jam. For children you had these little wheels of tiny pictures that you would insert into space-like plastic glasses with clic-clac button on the side to shift from one to the other.
The end of the Kodachrome is not to be celebrated: it is the announcing sign of the beginning of the disappearance of not so old ways in photography that made many cherished memories and practices of not so old people. It looks like part of my day will include a trip to the old photographer of the corner to get some 100 ASA black-and-white films... It will not be long before they disappear from shelves.