What should a photographer shoot when he is entrusted with the very last roll of Kodachrome?
Steve McCurry took aim at the Brooklyn Bridge, Grand Central Terminal and a few human icons, too. Paul Simon, the crooner synonymous with the fabled film’s richly saturated colors, shied away. But Robert De Niro stood in for the world of filmmaking.
Kodachrome enjoyed its mass-market heyday in the 1960s and ’70s before being eclipsed by video and easy-to-process color negative films, the kind that prints are made from. It garnered its share of spectacular images, none more iconic than Abraham Zapruder’s reel of President John Kennedy’s assassination in 1963.
But Mama Time is taking Kodachrome away, and McCurry feels the tug of nostalgia even as he loads Eastman Kodak Co.’s last manufactured roll into his Nikon F6, just as he’s done “so many tens of thousands of times.”
McCurry requested the final 36-exposure strip. After nine months of planning, he embarked in June on a six-week odyssey. Trailing him was a TV crew from National Geographic Channel, which plans to broadcast a one-hour documentary early next year.