My photographic work, which I have written about before was conducted in the old fashioned film way. For my color work, I primarily used Kodachrome. Recently, the final roll of this amazing film was processed.
It was said that the name "Kodak" was chosen by Eastman because he wanted a word that would snap open and shut. Kodachrome, as it was originally sold in the US (and continued to be sold in the rest of the world) continued the marketing concept that had begun with the Box Brownie: the purchase of the film included the development. Each roll came with a little yellow envelope that could be sent to the nearest lab, and later a box would arrive, full of your slides in little cardboard frames. I sent mine to labs in various places, finally Switzerland.
Yes, there are other slide films. I always found the Fuji options (like Velvia) to skew green, although I know some portrait photographers who favoured them. And technology has made some of this redundant - colour levels can be adjusted easily now with photoshop. What made Kodachrome so special? It offered better resolution without grain, even in large reproductions. This is why it was preferred by magazines: flick through copies of National Geographic from the 1970s and 80s: all those wide-angle shots were taken with Kodachrome. But the other thing Kodachrome offered was that it was archival. Look at those slides you have in boxes: Kodachrome images from the 1960s will still be vivid. Compare that to print films from the 1980s: you'll see the negatives have yellowed and the prints faded.
Part of the mystery of Kodachrome was that the process for developing it was proprietary and unique. You couldn't do it yourself. (Other slide films are developed with a process called E-6, which can be done in a home darkroom, as long as you are careful with a thermometer).
One of my preferred techniques to create photographic art was slide printing. In this, I would take a Kodachrome slide and put it into a slide printer, a small machine that fires light through the slide onto a piece of Polaroid film, creating a positive print. Before the polaroid had fully developed, I would rip the emulsion film from the backing, and press it onto a piece of damp watercolour paper. To create images like the one here, that small picture was then scanned and printed large on canvas.
I will miss taking those bright pictures, miss the sunny world that Kodachrome gave us, miss the world of photographers that is passing.