“Mama Don’t Take My Kodachrome Away”

Channeling a bit of Paul Simon in this post, but up until I heard this song I had never heard of the term kodachrome and guessing from the lyrics it had to do with photography. So I took a walk over to my local reference site and according to Wikipedia it has been around since 1935. So they’ve been taking color photos since 1935? Clearly I’m not familiar with photography history and I have been highly underexposed to color photos from this time era.

This is connected to a photo blog Jim has linked to several times, called Shorpy: The 100 year old photo blog. A few months ago I had looked at it briefly and it completely threw me off that there were color pictures (vivid color) from the 1940s at first I thought they had been photoshopped. I wonder how I have never been exposed to such pictures until now? This is going on my list of “Why The Internet Rocks My World” because without it I would never have had access to the this archive of historical photos (in high-resolution!). Maybe its just me, but somehow the color photos make me feel more connected to the people in the photos, perhaps it makes more realistic. Anyone else feel the same way?

Here are some thumbnails but I recommend checking out the high-res stuff it is amazing.

1a35438upreview.jpg Sulfur Storage: 1942 1a35242upreview.jpg TVA: 1942 1a35312u_0preview.jpg Building Planes: 1942

On a random note I really like the opening line in “Kodachrome”:

“When I think back on all the crap I learned in high school
Its a wonder I can think at all.”
-Paul Simon

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3 Responses to ““Mama Don’t Take My Kodachrome Away””


  1. 1 Jim January 23, 2008 at 5:21 am

    The force is strong with you 🙂

    Reading the bava and listening to me is really a coda of the utmost importance for the average individual, and I’m glad you illustrate that here. More importantly, your blog has been on fire and your posts as thoughtful as ever, which says a lot. You are a most formidable Jedi.

  2. 2 Steve January 23, 2008 at 6:42 am

    Kodacrome was the song we played to commence my high school graduation. Thanks for the memory!

  3. 3 FilmGeek February 20, 2008 at 10:02 pm

    What they didn’t have until the 1930s was a reliable color film. You don’t need color film to take color photographs, and indeed people have been taking color photographs practically from the moment black-and-white photography was invented. photo.net traces it to 1861: http://photo.net/history/timeline

    For that matter, Technicolor movies of the 1930s were shot onto black-and-white film (albeit three reels running simultaneously through the camera, one for each of the three primary colors).


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