Digital photography and Kodachrome slides

September 28, 2012  •  1 Comment

We have thousands of slides. Some, the best, are Kodachrome. And many Ektachrome, no name brands, even Polaroid instant slides.

All share a common quality: they remind us of events, people and places we enjoyed in the past. Of course, we are biased in our keeping those pictures that remind us good times, and discard those which are not.

I titled this blog Digital photography versus Kodachrome as I would like to make some remarks on what has changed, in my perception, since the advent of digital photography.

When we started shooting Kodachrome, as my Dad did just after World War II (all his slides have been lost, I believe), the process was simple: shoot, pray the gods of photography, send to the nearest Kodak Lab, and after a while, get 24 or 36 cardboard mounted slides with the processing year and month (not the actual date) stamped on it.

Then we would select on a light table those keepers from a roll. We knew the cost (high) and keepers were high to match; waste was expensive. Not sure that yesteryear keepers are today's selection. We would strain in selecting the good slides; 35 mm is not very large.

 

 

 

 

On long trips, a full month or even two could pass between taking the picture and seeing it on the slide. Funny how memory works, though. As we remembered then what lead to shooting the photo, we remember now the same conditions; or at least we think we do.

 

We would invite family and friends to watch a slide show using Carousels and a slightly more advanced projector and subject them to many pictures... too many, in retrospect!

 

 

 

Digital is about now!

While we are lagging our children in instant uploading pictures, we are still fast on the track of taking the shots, reviewing them on the camera screen and few hours later on a larger PC screen. Within days, the keepers are on the Web, somehow.

No light table, no cardboard, no expensive Carousels, nor Ektachrome projector and screen.  The pictures now go from camera's memory to the Web (or hard drive) in a few clicks of a mouse. They are virtual. They never exist beyond the digital language of zeros and ones.  The process is so fast and short, the actual shooting quantity is so large that one can wonder about the memory or recollection on the details surrounding the pictures.

Some of our friends still print many digital pictures to put them in cardboard albums. Weird, at first glance. Very rational, when one realizes that these physical albums are the continuation of the physical slides and prints of the past. Printing gives those pictures reality. They now exist in a physical, tactile and visual senses. Their virtual origin is lost, now being cast in paper.

Scanning is the reverse process, as we give digital life to physical slides (and paper photos) -- and this process triggers memories and sometimes the desire to go again to these places we love. We are finding that the time from slide to scanned image is long (8 minutes per slide), but, in many ways, highly rewarding as the final quality, after so many years is outstanding. With over 4,000 slides to go, we may go back and get a light table to reselect before we scan. 

A before and after Kodachrome below. Can you guess which is which?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A recent scanned of a 1977 Carousel - Enjoy.


Comments

Louise Dufresne(non-registered)
Quel beau vidéo! J'imagine que tout est pareil sauf pour le smog en été! Un très beau souvenir pour vous, j'en suis certaine!
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