1940's Kodachromes by Jack Delano

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1940's Kodachromes by Jack Delano

Post by Nando on Tue May 20, 2008 1:08 am

Kodacrhome positive film was introduced by Kodak in 1935 (yes, that's right, 1935). I came across some photographs taken with Kodachome by Jack Delano in the 1940's.

From Shorpy.com ( http://www.shorpy.com/jack-delano-photos ):
Jack Delano was Russian-born photographer who lived from August 1, 1914 to August 12, 1997. Delano moved to the United States during the Great Depression, when he began taking photographs for the Farm Security Administration. In addition to his FSA work Delano is known for the striking color photographs he took at rail yards during the 1940s.

Some of my favourites:
http://www.shorpy.com/node/3374?size=_original
http://www.shorpy.com/node/1896?size=_original
http://www.shorpy.com/node/2926?size=_original
http://www.shorpy.com/node/2262?size=_original
http://www.shorpy.com/node/2057?size=_original
http://www.shorpy.com/node/673?size=_original
http://www.shorpy.com/node/436?size=_original
http://www.shorpy.com/node/155?size=_original
http://www.shorpy.com/node/136?size=_original
http://www.shorpy.com/node/46?size=_original
http://www.shorpy.com/node/50?size=_original

Considering that Kodachrome is near extinction (there are only two labs left in the world that still processes it), I think it is worth pondering the following questions. Does any photograph captured with a digital camera looks as good as a Kodachrome slide? Definitely NO if we're talking medium or large format sized slides. In my opinion, I'd also say no if we're talking small format 35mm. Will digital photographs taken presently and stored in digital medium last more than 50 years like these Kodachrome slides? Most likely not. One thing is for sure, nobody is going to write a hit song about a digital sensor. Smile

Nando

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Re: 1940's Kodachromes by Jack Delano

Post by bjotoole on Mon May 19, 2008 6:47 pm

Thanks for posting this Nando, those look incredible. I'm definitely of the digital age, but with all your posts like this, I'm liking what I see in regards to film.

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Re: 1940's Kodachromes by Jack Delano

Post by Kenneth Armstrong on Mon May 19, 2008 7:26 pm

I forgot all about that awesome blog.

I was leafing through a 1973-ish National Geographic at the doctors office a few weeks back and noticed each photo was captioned "Kodakchrome by ___" and "Ektachrome by _____." I thought that was pretty cool and wish I could start doing the same.

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Re: 1940's Kodachromes by Jack Delano

Post by Nando on Mon May 19, 2008 9:53 pm

Publishers usually insisted on colour slides. Even today, I think publishers of fashion publications still insist on slides for two-page spreads. I know for sure that most serious architecture/decor magazines insist on medium-format slides.

Personally, I don't use slides for a number of reasons. The two most important ones being a) cost and b) exposure latitude. With slides, I have to be right-on with exposure. Few of my cameras actually have meters and even if they do, I normally don't pay too much attention to them because of the nature of my shooting style. Colour negatives and black and white gives me a bit more freedom in this regard. I can be off by one or even two stops, and as long as I don't underexpose, I still get a workable negative. Colour negative films have improved tremendously over the last few years. However, slide film has also improved and in my opinion, if I wanted the best quality possible in a colour photograph - professional slide film is the way to go. Despite the furious sensor/megapixel wars going on, I don't think that there is anything in the digital realm that can match what Kodak created way, way, WAY back in 1935.

Although I don't use it myself, I really don't like the fact that Kodachrome's days are numbered. I have no doubt that film will be here for a very long time. After all, there are still people making daguerreotypes and using glass plate negatives. However, Kodachrome 64 will be one less option that we have and one with a tremendous history. If Kodachrome does go away, at the very least it is nice to know that we can enjoy the Kodachrome slides that were taken for many decades to come as proven by the longevity of the slides taken by Jack Delano above.

Now let's sing along...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QXZTBu_3ioI

Nando

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Re: 1940's Kodachromes by Jack Delano

Post by Nando on Mon May 19, 2008 10:41 pm

BTW Ken, that is a great blog. I first found it when I was researching Lewis Hine, who was one of the first photographers that used the medium to foster social change by exposing the tragedy of forced child-labour in the United States. (Also serves as an excellent example of why it is extremely important to protect our current freedoms to photograph.) It has an excellent collection of photographs taken by Hine.

http://www.shorpy.com/lewis-hine-photos

It also has eerie photographs taken by Ansel Adams at "Relocation Centers" for Japanese people in the United States during WWII. (One can tell that documentary photography wasn't his thing.) Lots of Walker Evans and Dorothea Lange photos too.

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