It Made All The World A Sunny Day

by Conor Friedersdorf

The New York Times reports on the end of an era:

PARSONS, Kan. An unlikely pilgrimage is under way to Dwayne’s Photo, a small family business that has through luck and persistence become the last processor in the world of Kodachrome, the first successful color film and still the most beloved.

What grabbed me is this anecdote:

In the span of minutes this week, two such visitors arrived. The first was a railroad worker who had driven from Arkansas to pick up 1,580 rolls of film that he had just paid $15,798 to develop. The second was an artist who had driven directly here after flying from London to Wichita, Kan., on her first trip to the United States to turn in three rolls of film and shoot five more before the processing deadline.

The artist, Aliceson Carter, 42, was incredulous as she watched the railroad worker, Jim DeNike, 53, loading a dozen boxes that contained nearly 50,000 slides into his old maroon Pontiac. He explained that every picture inside was of railroad trains and that he had borrowed money from his father’s retirement account to pay for developing them.

One Christmas gift I gave this year was an album of photographs. I took them on my Nikon D60, ordered 8 X 12 prints from SmugMug, and quite enjoyed what I received in the mail. It occured to me that I hadn't ever ordered or produced a physical copy of a photograph since switching to digital cameras years ago. It's no longer necessary.

But especially if you're able to order images on the bigger side, it's a worthwhile experience, and makes you want to take even better pictures (so much so that I'm now lusting over the Canon EOS 5D Mark II, which I definitely can't afford). I have this idea that one day I'll live in a house whose walls I'll adorn with photographs I've taken so that always I'm surrounded by scores of memory triggers that evoke past adventures. For whatever reason, I find myself to be much more reflective gazing upon images that aren't on a screen. Perhaps it has something to do with the added permanence and extra investment put into producing them.