Left: Steve McCurry, Afghan Girl, cibachrome print, 1985. Sold on December 8, 2009 for $7,200. Right: William Eggleston, Untitled (Dinner), chromogenic print, circa 1983-86. Sold on May 14, 2009 for $6,720.
The lush, saturated color photographs that inspired amateur photographers and Paul Simon alike will no longer be made. On December 30, 2010 the last roll of Kodachrome film ever to be developed was processed at Dwayne's Photo in Kansas. The final days of the storied color film were chronicled by the New York Times in this article.
Art & Antiques also covered the end of Kodachrome, suggesting "now perhaps the art world can recognize its unique worth as a medium." During its 75 years, millions of Kodachrome photographs were shot and developed, but the developing process was cumbersome—and often toxic. Additionally, there was an enduring attitude, succinctly stated by photographer Walker Evans, that "color photography is vulgar," which relegated most of the images shot with Kodachrome to family albums.
But, as Daile Kaplan, Swann's Photography specialist, noted in the Art & Antiques article, the Kodachrome slides may become collectibles in and of themselves. "The idea of selling slides has never been popular in the marketplace... But as Kodachromes become older and have the patina of history on them, they will probably be collected."
Labels: Art and Antiques, Daile Kaplan, Kodachrome, New York Times, photography, Steve McCurry, William Eggleston