Pretty much every photographer who cut their teeth on 35mm lamented the “death of Kodachrome” back in 2009. Introduced in 1935, the venerable slide film inspired photographers the world over for the remainder of the 20th century, becoming a staple of 35mm color photography and providing us with some of the most iconic color images in history (to say nothing of archiving many a family history, too).
The emulsion had unique processing requirements, which were both complex and environmentally unfriendly, not using the usual E6 chemistry designed for transparency film. By the time the digital age arrived, Kodachrome had become a victim of this uniqueness.
Still, it was a look that was singular and near impossible to emulate with today’s digital capture and processing techniques. The “Kodachrome” look, with its rich reds and 3D quality, became legendary, and to this day remains so in the hearts and minds of both veteran film shooters and new adopters of analogue photography, alike.
Of course, as with every legendary name, there is marketing value in a brand (just ask Paul Simon). Kodak is evidently aware of this, and while there are no plans to bring back the storied film anytime soon (Ektachrome is apparently set to return, however), the Kodachrome name is making a comeback of sorts … by way of a magazine.
This month Kodak has launched Issue #1 of Kodachrome Magazine, a new limited edition journal that’s being marketed towards not only lovers of film photography, but also to those who appreciate “art, film and analog culture”, from such wide ranging disciplines as writing, sculpture, music, graphics, and more (though I suspect analogue photography will anchor the publication). The first issue contains 76 pages of features, illustrations, and photographs, covering a variety of topics.
All of this doesn’t come cheap, however. The magazine runs at $20USD per issue, and the first issue is already sold out. No word on how many issues will be published per year. The magazine is apparently only available in the United States, at least initially. But according to their Twitter page, Kodak will have an online PDF version in the future — along with submissions for future issues.
Though some are deriding this move from Kodak, I give them props for repurposing the Kodachrome name in a way that celebrates its cultural gestalt, and I suspect these issues will become collector’s items in short order.