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Kodachrome: The Iconic Color Film

"K O D A C H R O M E: THE ICONIC COLOR FILM" with many squares for developed pictures.

Kodachrome, produced by the company Kodak, is the oldest selling brand of color film in existence. Invented in 1935, it quickly became the standard film for cinematography and still photography. Notably, Kodachrome captured the first color photographs of historical events such as the Hindenburg’s disaster of 1937, the first climbers confirmed at the top of Mount Everest in 1953, and of World War II. Prior to its emergence, it was difficult to create a convincing image with color due to the dull images other films produced. Because of its impact, Kodachrome has been described as a technological breakthrough like the first color television.

Melrose Center Photography Instructor Pedro Raphael Berrios, an Award-winning photographer with over thirty years of experience as an editorial and commercial photographer, recalled his first purchase of the Kodachrome film in 1980. “Every photographer I knew used Kodachrome, especially for color photography.” As the industry standard roll to carry on assignment, Kodachrome was used by National Geographic photographers in the first decades that the magazine printed in color due to its rich color saturation. Pedro added, “Many popular color magazines during the 1940s to 1980s, including LIFE, LOOK, among others used this film.”

Kodachrome was undeniably a transformative film which produced strikingly bright and vibrant color tones. For photographers, both amateur and professional, Pedro described Kodachrome as “the best film you could purchase compared to what was available, even for the commercial industry.” After nearly 75 years on the market, Kodak sadly announced Kodachrome’s discontinuation in 2009. With its rich history and prolific use, it is easy to see why this film was treasured by photographers.

Join us on Saturday, March 4, at 2-3:30 p.m., for “Melrose Meetups: Remembering Kodachrome” hosted by Pedro Berrios. Attendees will travel to an era in photography when Kodachrome was the film of choice. Learn more about the history of this legendary film, its popularity, and its evolution into the digital era.