The Last Roll of Kodachrome

 

If you’re a photographer and haven’t heard about Steve McCurry shooting the last roll of Kodachrome then you’ve been living under a rock or working too hard and need to get out more. McCurry apparently asked Kodak for the last roll of Kodachrome so he could be the one to shoot it. Just that act alone has got to tell you something about Steve McCurry. He had to have a lot of confidence to be able to pull this off. The whole world was watching what 36 frames he would shoot. If he made a mistake, everyone would have known. He had 36 frames and each one had to be phenomenal. I know I wouldn’t want to work under that kind of pressure. I wanted to share this video because I felt like it might inspire you. Not to shoot the last roll of film. But to risk and try something different. Put yourself out there and maybe risk embarrassment.

There several things that he says in the video that could foster a whole blog post. I love this thought:

My kind of photography is very much about searching and exploring and wandering and observing to really get the vibe of the place and meet the people. When you confront people with your camera and you ask people if you can take their picture, often they’re a bit apprehensive or they’re a bit shy – maybe embarrassed. But I think the way to break through that is take a break from shooting and just talk to them for a minute. ‘This is a good thing. This portrait we’re going to work together on is going to be fun and interesting and respectful.’ – Steve McCurry

 

There are many more gems in this video, but  you have to listen for them. They go by quickly.

On a side note. I often get frustrated when I only hear the Afghan Girl photo associated with Steve McCurray. When in fact, McCurry has shot thousands of amazing and even phenomenal photographs. Many are as good and maybe even better than the Afghan Girl. I’ve heard from some photographers say that they’re disappointed in Steve McCurry because they read or heard how he’s a difficult instructor to work under. That he is a bit of a prima donna.  That may very well be, but he didn’t make his name by being an instructor. He made his name by shooting amazing images time and time again for magazines like the National Geographic over a  30 year period. When I hang up my cameras I hope that I will have shot images that can move, motivate and stir emotion half as much as this man’s.

About Matt Brandon

Matt is a Malaysia based humanitarian and travel photographer. Well known as a photographer and international workshop instructor, Matt’s images have been used by business and organizations around the globe. Matt also on the design board for Think Tank Photo, a camera bag manufacturer.

In 2013 Matt founded the On Field Media Project to train the staff of non-profits to use appropriate technology to produce timely as well as quality images.

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6 thoughts on “The Last Roll of Kodachrome

  1. Thanks, Matt! I knew the story, of course, but I hadn’t seen the video. Inspiring, indeed. I love his work. And doubly nice to see this when my memories of Rajasthan are so fresh.

  2. Hi
    Great post. When I look at your work I’m not surprised you admire McCurry.

    You make some great points. This video is worth watching a few times.

  3. Steve I worked at Kodak Canada in Toronto and saw 1000’s of rolls of Kodachrome come off the assembly lines and also saw 1000’s of rolls being processed in Kodak Canada labs in Toronto and Vancouver BC.

    I shot all of our vacations and family outing in Kodachrome. Before I switched to digital and after I retired from Kodak
    (and my supply of Kodachrome) I had accumulated 3500 slides in trays for which I converted them all to a CD.
    My Youngest daughter has taken possession of the original slides and I gave copies of the CD’s to all the Family.
    It was a great quality product and produced as you know brilliant pictures.

    Kodak’s quality in making the film and processing it was kept at a very high level. I spent many hours and days in the film processing lab and never stopped being amazed at the of the fantastic pictures that went through the processing dryer and mounting machines.

    Your pictures only high light what every one who used Kodachrome said about the product. great shots Steve.
    Hart Sherk
    Retired Kodak Canada Employee

  4. Thanks Matt,
    I have looked forward to watching this and as you say there is so much there. This time through I got the overall story. I plan to watch at least twice more to focus on his interacting with people and his sculpturing with light.

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