The Last Roll Of Kodachrome

Date: September 2011

THE PHOTOS STEVE MCCURRY TOOK WITH THE LAST ROLL OF KODACHROME FILM ARE AT ISTANBUL MODERN FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THE WORLD. THROUGH SEPTEMBER 4.

The Last Roll Of Kodachrome
The Last Roll Of Kodachrome

Starting production in 1935, Kodachrome was the film of choice of photographers amateur and professional alike. In 1973 Paul Simon even wrote a song for the film, which became legend in the late 60’s and 70’s when it was a favorite with everybody but especially with photojournalists. When Kodachrome suddenly stopped production in 2009, Steve McCurry spoke with the company and persuaded them to give him their last roll of the film. McCurry traveled some thirty thousand kilometers in six weeks to shoot the 36 exposures on that last roll. The first frame is of actor Robert de Niro. Thirty-one of those 36 frames are now on display in an exhibition, The Last Roll of Kodachrome, at Istanbul Modern. Some came out too dark, others had to be scrapped for lack of a flash. “If I could do it all over again,” says McCurry, “I would shoot two frames at three locations for each subject.” 

THE BEST RENDERING OF REALITY
McCurry, who has worked for National Geographic for close to thirty years and has 800,000 frames in his archive, has this to say about Kodachrome: “It captured the color. The colors were absolutely extraordinary. Truly the best rendering of reality. That’s why when I found out they were going to halt production I wanted to write the last chapter in the Kodachrome story.”