Kodachrome film, one of the first successful color films in history, was discontinued in 2009, as Kodak recognized that digital cameras were making physical film obsolete. But, before it was all gone, legendary photographer Steve McCurry (who had used Kodachrome in a substantial amount of his work) asked if he could have the honor of taking the last roll.
Taking those decisive last 36 shots was an event unlike any other, so McCurry’s longtime employer National Geographic tagged along for the ride and documented him as he painstakingly chose what subjects would be worthy enough. The fascinating half-hour video captures both the precision and spontaneity of McCurry’s work, as he wanders through various parts of New York and India, reveling in simply observing the world around him. Along the way, he offers advice on taking meaningful photos and makes us a little sad to see film fade away so fast, replaced by the safety and security of digital cameras and memory cards. In years to come, we will undoubtedly miss the raw and thoughtful images produced from knowing that, like McCurry, there is only so much film left to use.
Luckily, he was kind enough to let us share a few of his actual shots, which certainly do Kodachrome the justice it deserves.