Design Talk: Kodachrome

Last Saturday the Friends of the Library sponsored another great program.  We were fortunate to have a new volunteer,  Kim Millican Phillips,  tell us about the event.    Many thanks to Kim, who in addition to blogging has also joined the Friends of the Library.  As a part of the Design Talk series, Stephen Tourlentes and Amber Davis Tourlentes, instructors from Mass Art, reflected upon Kodachrome and took the audience on a journey about the evolution of Kodachrome slides. Kodachrome was a type of color reversal film. It was introduced by Eastman Kodak in 1935 and utilized until 2010. Kodachrome was known for producing photographs with rich colors and ultra-fine details. Both professionals and amateurs used it around the world. Of interest, there were enough professional photographers in Boston using Kodachrome to justify daily flights to deliver the film for development. Kodachrome film was developed using a 14-step process. The detailed process, which required a chemist on the processing line, produced photographs with vivid colors and incredible archival properties. As camera phones and computer applications, such as Instagram, gain in popularity, society is developing a greater appreciation for photography. As a result, many of the Kodachrome slides and pictures are resurfacing. Throughout the presentation, Mr. Tourlentes showed classic Kodachrome slides. The audience was impressed at how the photographs popped with saturated colors and crispness. An example of the slides shown includes photos taken by Bill Manbo inside a Japanese-American Internment camp. In an era that was previously captured in black and white, history can now be revisited through the color archives created by Kodachrome photographs. The standing room only crowd shared their personal photography experiences. Of interest, Mr. Tourlentes mentioned his favorite camera is a large-format 8” x 10” Deardorff camera. The group also discussed digital photography and whether the formats in which they are saved will be accessible in years to come. Kim Phillips Millican

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