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Author Topic: Steve McCurry - last roll of Kodachrome  (Read 1704 times)
Paulo Bizarro
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« on: January 16, 2013, 03:18:01 AM »
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]http://www.imaging-resource.com/news/2013/01/14/the-last-picture-show-steve-mccurry-shoots-the-final-roll-of-kodachrome-vid?fb_action_ids=3595672950229&fb_action_types=og.likes&fb_source=timeline_og&action_object_map=%7B%223595672950229%22%3A113598338816718%7D&action_type_map=%7B%223595672950229%22%3A%22og.likes%22%7D&action_ref_map=[]
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francois
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« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2013, 06:19:39 AM »
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Thanks Paulo! It was very interesting to watch how the last roll was used.
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Francois
Patricia Sheley
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« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2013, 09:18:27 AM »
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Watched this...then slowly walked up the "utility" stairs to a small cubby hole where my photographic history rests... a case for speed graphic, a case for my self constructed image boxes, lenses still heavy with memory...and the small Canon case, an AE-1 and F-1 within, each containing an unexposed roll of Kodachrome 64...settings just as I left them, manual all those years ago. Have opened their sealed bags maybe twice...when downsizing, passing things on, throwing things away...these have left me in paralysis at those times...I turn my back, walk away, close the door.  I had thought one time to photograph a message for after I am gone...but the reality is I know they will leave in a clean sweep once I depart to make room for what someone considers to be that which "really matters".

Strange how those small bodies can carry what we still feel as the only air we really breathed and how as I see this screen blurred in tears, the sense of the end and insignificance is so powerfully, overwhelmingly, near...
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A common woman...

www.patriciasheley.com
Rob C
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« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2013, 09:39:40 AM »
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Patricia, you've been sipping from the same poisoned chalice as I.

Happiness on Earth was never meant to last. But being gone worries me not at all as long as there's no drama and/or high pain in the manner of the going. I'm convinced that we move on... were it not so, there wouldn't appear to have been any purpose to being here at all. And I just can't buy that all the magic and wonders that exist are accidents. Too facile an explanation for me. My wife was very accomplished in maths; she used to eschew formulae and always went back to first principles when she wanted to work out some problem or the other. Somehow, I find myself doing that when I think about life itself, and I feel that all of the conflicting or even parallel spiritual ideas offered by the various recognized mindsets in high collars are simply formularies reaching blindly out into the unknown. I gues one's own vision is just as valid as that of any other.

Rob C
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Rob C
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« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2013, 02:41:30 PM »
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I have no idea what McCurry achieved with his last Kodachrome film, and the little video wasn't particularly inspiring (if anything, I think it described the few final clichés in the Kodachrome Hall of Fame), but I gather that he took it upon himself to shoot it without assignment, and paid for his own travel.

If that's an accurate reading, then Kodak blew a huge opportunity for producing a great calendar with that film. Imagine: one film, loaded into one camera, and then handed over, in turn, to thirty-six photographers at the top of their game...

Oh well, hindsight.

Rob C
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WalterEG
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« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2013, 04:01:22 PM »
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Rob,

I guess I am way too much of a Jewish wash-basin (cynic) for stuff like this.  I see no reason to believe a word I read in a PR release or an event such as this.  Self-funded perhaps, but in the guise of a TV production resting soundly on all the usual principles of business as we know them.

I remember a calendar shoot with Elle McPherson shot in Bali some time ago.  The calendar sold well, as one would expect, and was commendably shot by a chap known to me, Graham Shearer.  But the money from the calendar sales was just a single piece of fruit on the sideboard.  The real profits were all stitched up well before and the calendar would not have happened had they not been.  The REAL purpose of the exercise was the production of a TV doco (as we see here) for which there was an upfront guarantee of $3.5 million in 1990s dollars.

It is all fine and dandy that eyes well up with thoughts of the loss of something we held dear.  The truth of the matter is that it was not held dear enough.  Kodachrome disappeared purely due to lack of market.  Photographers fled Kodachrome (and Tri-X, and every other stock) in their droves with missionary zeal.  It is all a bit like lamenting that you neglected visiting a favourite aunty in her final days while you could, and now she is gone.

I shot a lot of Kodachrome when I shot for Playboy and Penthouse.  It was not only de rigueur, it was stipulated as mandatory.  When Kodachrome 120 surfaced, I used it in the hope that some of the allure of the 35mm stock might be imparted.  Sadly, it was not and the film was a dog.

My opinion of Kodachrome may have been different if I was born earlier when I could have used Kodachrome sheet film.

Cheers,

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Paulo Bizarro
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« Reply #6 on: January 17, 2013, 03:18:01 AM »
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I would love to see the results of this roll. McCurry is one of my favourite photographers, and his film work from SE Asia is amazing. No surprise he went back to his comfortable zone, shooting in India... it was fun to watch his approach, and his use of the digital camera has a testing ground before burning the slide frame. The photo of the magician (at around 21 minutes) is classic McCurry, simply wonderful.
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Rob C
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« Reply #7 on: January 17, 2013, 03:34:03 AM »
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Rob,

I guess I am way too much of a Jewish wash-basin (cynic) for stuff like this.  I see no reason to believe a word I read in a PR release or an event such as this.  Self-funded perhaps, but in the guise of a TV production resting soundly on all the usual principles of business as we know them.

I remember a calendar shoot with Elle McPherson shot in Bali some time ago.  The calendar sold well, as one would expect, and was commendably shot by a chap known to me, Graham Shearer.  But the money from the calendar sales was just a single piece of fruit on the sideboard.  The real profits were all stitched up well before and the calendar would not have happened had they not been.  The REAL purpose of the exercise was the production of a TV doco (as we see here) for which there was an upfront guarantee of $3.5 million in 1990s dollars.

It is all fine and dandy that eyes well up with thoughts of the loss of something we held dear.  The truth of the matter is that it was not held dear enough.  Kodachrome disappeared purely due to lack of market.  Photographers fled Kodachrome (and Tri-X, and every other stock) in their droves with missionary zeal.  It is all a bit like lamenting that you neglected visiting a favourite aunty in her final days while you could, and now she is gone.

I shot a lot of Kodachrome when I shot for Playboy and Penthouse.  It was not only de rigueur, it was stipulated as mandatory.  When Kodachrome 120 surfaced, I used it in the hope that some of the allure of the 35mm stock might be imparted.  Sadly, it was not and the film was a dog.

My opinion of Kodachrome may have been different if I was born earlier when I could have used Kodachrome sheet film.

Cheers,



Hi Walter,

I remember when Kodachrome 120 was introduced; unfortunately, that was around the time I’d already ditched my ‘blads and various other misadventures up into 6x7 and had committed my soul completely to Nikon. The reason was simple: Kodachrome travelled very well, and latent images didn’t disappear or melt when you were working away from base with no chance of cooling or early processing. One disadvantage was that tanned skin turned greenish when hit by airport X-Ray, which though usually avoidable, wasn’t the case in Palma de Mallorca one trip, when the Guardia simply pushed me aside and chucked the film bag into the scanner whilst I tried ro reason for a hand-search.

On getting through into the departure lounge, the client watching the whole deal going down (thank God!), I swore I’d never return to the blighted isle. So what did I do? A year and a bit later I was living here. Go figure.

However, it’s only due to the stability of Kodachrome that I still have any images to scan, so many years later. But, having said that, it also helps to store in proper archival wallets: I still have about a dozen 120 Ektachromes (that I copied on my digital camera some year or so ago) stored in archival Diane W. Viewpacks, and they also have survived well. Perhaps keeping them hanging in a tin filing cabinet helps – no pressure on top of them.

Rob C
« Last Edit: January 17, 2013, 03:38:41 AM by Rob C » Logged

Rob C
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« Reply #8 on: January 17, 2013, 03:41:09 AM »
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I would love to see the results of this roll. McCurry is one of my favourite photographers, and his film work from SE Asia is amazing. No surprise he went back to his comfortable zone, shooting in India... it was fun to watch his approach, and his use of the digital camera has a testing ground before burning the slide frame. The photo of the magician (at around 21 minutes) is classic McCurry, simply wonderful.



Hence the self-parody and cliché.

I lived in India for around seven years or so; anyone can take an interpreter along for the ride and shoot anything anywhere the guy is willing to take you. Where's the big deal? The big deal is in the eye of he who doesn't know anything much about the reality, as with all things in photography.

Even now, though all of this exploration of other cultures is as old as the hills, I still see it as, at the very least, exploitative of another peoples' poverty, relative innocence and real misfortunes.

Rob C
« Last Edit: January 17, 2013, 03:50:40 AM by Rob C » Logged

Paulo Bizarro
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« Reply #9 on: January 18, 2013, 03:22:27 AM »
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Hence the self-parody and cliché.

I lived in India for around seven years or so; anyone can take an interpreter along for the ride and shoot anything anywhere the guy is willing to take you. Where's the big deal? The big deal is in the eye of he who doesn't know anything much about the reality, as with all things in photography.

Even now, though all of this exploration of other cultures is as old as the hills, I still see it as, at the very least, exploitative of another peoples' poverty, relative innocence and real misfortunes.

Rob C

Sure. But the challenge is going to where mayby hundreds go and come back with wonderful photos, instead of just snaps. And I don´t see it as exploitation; what I see in his portraits are subjects that show dignity, not subjects looking as they are being exploited.
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Rob C
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« Reply #10 on: January 18, 2013, 03:54:56 AM »
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Sure. But the challenge is going to where mayby hundreds go and come back with wonderful photos, instead of just snaps. And I don´t see it as exploitation; what I see in his portraits are subjects that show dignity, not subjects looking as they are being exploited.



Dignity? You have got to be joking: take some old guy, half-knocked out on weed and beetle nut juice, some kids with their heads amix between fear, excitement and expectation at the couple of rupees they hope they may be about to get, and you see dignity? Come on, wise up, you see production. Were the pix even shot honestly, with that one camera and one shot, but hell, doing the usual commercial shoot-around build-up on another camera means it is no more honest, one-shot genius that anybody else displays. Actors in New York; assistant holding light... Production, man, production.

Hardly what you'd hope for from one of the world's best-known photo-journalists, then.

All in my opinion, at least, and that's the one I respect most.

Rob C
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RSL
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« Reply #11 on: January 18, 2013, 06:48:34 AM »
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I agree with you, Rob. It was pure exploitation and it really bugged me to see one of my favorite photographers in the middle of that kind of exploitation. I'm not sure money is worth that much.
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Rob C
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« Reply #12 on: January 18, 2013, 07:53:23 AM »
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I agree with you, Rob. It was pure exploitation and it really bugged me to see one of my favorite photographers in the middle of that kind of exploitation. I'm not sure money is worth that much.



Yes, I tend to think along that same line, but let's face it: photojournalism is pretty much dead - what's left if you need to maintain a lifestyle? I guess it's P.R. or die. Shooting Pirelli calendars doesn't quite fit the 'man of principle' shtick either, but this latter is just sour grapes on my part.

;-)

Rob C
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« Reply #13 on: January 18, 2013, 08:25:56 AM »
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It's a conundrum all right, Rob. I agree that photojournalism is at least moribund. It's been on life support for a long time. How many pictures of people shooting guns and suffering and dying in wars can you publish? Gets really old after the shock wears off, and the words that accompany the pictures are what matter anyway. No photograph ever showed what really was happening in a war, or in any of the situations photojournalism tries to explain.

Street photography is still living and going strong, but as HCB discovered early-on, you can't make a living off street photography. I guess the guy who came closest to doing that was Doisneau, but he needed his commercial work too.

And now the lower peninsulas of commercial photography are being washed away by amateurs with good equipment and not much imagination, but sometimes more imagination than the drones who were doing weddings and portraits out of the downtown cliché shop.

Maybe it's time for Steve to get a day job. Hate to see it come to this though. He's done some wonderful work.
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