By William Carter

Photographer, Author, Jazz Musician

The Old Glory That Was Kodachrome

with 4 comments

70 Brilliant Years

How great it was — while it lasted, until 2012 — something like 70 years.

It still lasts archivally: those chromes retain their slightly salmon, yet accurate, saturated colors while so many others have long since faded. The film of choice for top magazines, many folks’ travel slides, and countless other applications. This post features some of my Kodachrome slides of the western U.S. from the 1960s on. (We hope to present a few international Kodachromes later; then eventually a selection from that fine new medium — digital color.)

We are fortunate to be living through a major transition in the history of photography. Five centuries ago, Western art was revolutionized by the invention of oil painting. Artists old enough to have been trained in older techniques like tempera, but young enough to master oil — Venetians like Titian, for instance — combined both skills in highly creative ways.  (See my earlier post, “Tone in Art — and in Life.”) So I’m always pleased to hear of today’s art schools continuing to teach the older “wet darkroom” alongside the newer digital technologies.

See also “Bound for Glory: America in Color,”  Kodachromes by photographers of the Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information, property of the Library of Congress.

All Kodachromes © William Carter

Murphy's, California c. 1970
Murphy’s, California c. 1970

Columbia, California 1970
Columbia, California 1970

Illinois, c. 1973
Illinois, c. 1973

Preservation Hall, New Orleans, circa 1986
Preservation Hall, New Orleans, circa 198

Preservation Hall, New Orleans, c. 1985
Preservation Hall, New Orleans, c. 1985

Preservation Hall, New Orleans, c. 1986
Preservation Hall, New Orleans, c. 1986

San Francisco, c. 1970
San Francisco, c. 1970

Granite, Montana, c. 1970
Granite, Montana, c. 1970

Silver City, Idaho, c. 1970
Silver City, Idaho, c. 1970

Copyright statement: William Carter papers, © Stanford University Libraries. Click here for a detailed usage guide.


Written by bywilliamcarter

April 3, 2017 at 6:00 pm

4 Responses

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  1. these shots really do have the warmth of paintings…wonderful depth in the skin


    julie Tave

    April 6, 2017 at 8:41 pm

  2. Aah, good old Kodachrome. I love the saturated colors. Oh, those two women walking side by side, with a six pack of Tab, I think, just lovely. Great shots especially the love the child walking by the fence with the American flag on the rails. Digital flattens everything out. I can feel the life in these photos. Thank you.



    March 12, 2013 at 5:47 am

  3. body{font-size:10pt;font-family:arial,sans-serif;background-color:#ffffff;color:black;}p{margin:0px;}WordPress.comI know, Bill, I know……and I too have so many that, like yours, have lasted all these many years while Ektachrome has faded somewhat (even in their own light tight boxes).. But life goes on and the “new” (digital) has supplanted it.. God knows if the digital images (in what ever form they’re archived) are gonna last.. and if in 30 years we’ll ever be able to have some technology to recall them, but it’s here… and I’m finding that I’m making the best of it..See attached, threef new pieces of mine. As far as photography, I’m at the point of retiring from teaching (I’ll be 80 in July) but most of my work in photography is mostly nudes.. The rest of my time is still sculpture.It’s been a long time since we’ve seen each other..5-8 years (maybe more) since you brought your Dixie Land Band to Oakland.. Thanks for sending these blogs… They’re enjoyed. Marshall Berman  (Marsh)


    marshall berman

    February 17, 2013 at 6:40 pm

  4. Bill, Nice shot of Visitacion Valley(?) In the 70s. Nice framing, especially.

    Rex Allen


    February 17, 2013 at 6:05 pm

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