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Life in Kodachrome
May 5, 2010 12:53 PM   Subscribe

Michael Williams, the guy behind A Continuous Lean, buys Kodachrome slides from the 50's and 60's at flea markets, estate sales, and other sources. Then he posts his finds online: Part I, II, III, and IV.

He's not done yet. More will show up on this category of ACL.

This isn't the first time he's posted cool Kodachrome stuff, either. Here's some uploads of a friend's family film shot on Kodachrome at Disneyland in 1956.

We've previously discussed scanned Kodachrome slides, via ACL no less.
posted by defenestration (26 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
Nice hats on E.E. Dickie and C.N. Williamson.
posted by nicomachus at 12:59 PM on May 5, 2010


No fair—I want to go fishing in Minnesota in the 1950s, too!
posted by Atom Eyes at 1:04 PM on May 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


What's the story with copyright on stuff like this? Does buying the original, and presumably only, copy of a work carry with it an implied transfer of copyright? Particularly when it's such an obvious example of an orphan work? (Maybe 'foundling work' would be appropriate.) It seems like it should but I doubt it does.
posted by Kadin2048 at 1:06 PM on May 5, 2010


It's interesting how some of these feel modern to me, because they don't have the fading and odd coloration I associate with old photos. You could tell me the second and third fishing photos were taken last week and I wouldn't doubt you. But then you get a photo with cars or certain hairstyles in it and it's suddenly clear this isn't now.

Lesson learned: Cars and ladies' hairstyles change a lot over time, boats and the clothes men wear fishing, not so much.
posted by lore at 1:09 PM on May 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Such fantastic colors.
posted by Think_Long at 1:10 PM on May 5, 2010


K-14 process rules!
posted by Ron Thanagar at 1:17 PM on May 5, 2010


I was recently the fortunate recipient of about 300 Kodakchrome slides from someone's European trip taken in 1958 (or at least, developed in 1958) when I purchased a box lot at an auction. I just wanted the unopened six-pack of Billy Beer and ended up with some cool shots taken from the deck of the Queen Elizabeth, as well as pictures of some incredible architecture. I just wish the guy had taken more pics of people. Don't know if this link will work, but here are some of the scans I got.
posted by MegoSteve at 1:20 PM on May 5, 2010


Oconaluftee Indian Village.
posted by Floydd at 1:22 PM on May 5, 2010


I’ve got a whole box of Kodachrome 35mm from my grandfather’s time. I’m too afraid to watch it, lest I burn up the film somehow (I don’t know much about these things). I’ve considered converting it to digital, but the process seems really too expensive
posted by Think_Long at 1:24 PM on May 5, 2010


This is a cool project that I've also been following. ACL is kind of relentless in a high-class consumerist way, but the photos are cool.
posted by OmieWise at 1:26 PM on May 5, 2010


I love stuff like this, after scanning a bunch of slides from the archives of my Masonic Lodge. I got to see our old buildings, people I know back in their younger days, and examples of when men wore hats.

I can't quite date this batch from any of the pictures, but I figure anywhere from "late 40s to early 60s". It can't be any later than '64.

For Houston folk, the "Lodge on Hillcroft" pictures show our building that used to be at the intersection of Richmond and Hillcroft - where the Walgreens is now located.
posted by mrbill at 1:30 PM on May 5, 2010


K-14 process rules!

Yes, it does did.

I shot Kodachrome 25 for years - hands down the most realistic slide film ever made. Even when it ages it gets a cool magenta shift that still looks good.

I remember being bowled over when Fuji Velvia and all the hypersaturated color slide film came out, but Kodachrome was still my go-to stuff.

I've gone mostly digital, like everybody else. But it's not the same....
posted by Benny Andajetz at 1:30 PM on May 5, 2010


but the trachtenburgs set it to music.
posted by djduckie at 1:49 PM on May 5, 2010


Kadin2048: What's the story with copyright on stuff like this?

Copyright is independent of the physcial copy, so the photographer (or their estate) still owns the copyright.
posted by AzraelBrown at 1:57 PM on May 5, 2010


I've said it before and I'll keep on saying it: God bless Kodachrome.
It's such a joy transferring someone's homemovies that were shot with that film.
posted by NoMich at 2:09 PM on May 5, 2010


The fishing pictures remind me of the awesomely anachronistic packaging of Eagle Claw fishhooks. You can see the photography pretty well here, it's obviously directly from the fifties.

Someday I'm going to make a website showing some love to companies who have deliberately kept old artwork (not "update" or "refreshed" in any way) on their product packaging or brand identity.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 2:13 PM on May 5, 2010


Such fantastic colors.

Yes, the world has gotten more drab and ugly over time. The internet is particularly to blame for this.

The obvious song
posted by philip-random at 2:15 PM on May 5, 2010


This image makes my bowels go loose.
posted by JohnR at 2:34 PM on May 5, 2010


Wow, I was really surprised by the sharpness and clarity in these pictures. Normally you don't associate that kind of imagery with everyday snapshots. They must have used some pretty nice cameras too, right?
What's the story with copyright on stuff like this? Does buying the original, and presumably only, copy of a work carry with it an implied transfer of copyright?
Uh, no.
posted by delmoi at 2:48 PM on May 5, 2010


What's the story with copyright on stuff like this?
It's complicated.

In the most likely case that a given image was never published, the copyright is either life-of-author+70 years, or 120 from creation if the author is unknown.
posted by fings at 4:19 PM on May 5, 2010


Awesome! I've done stuff like this as well. I should scan more of my finds.
posted by Sticherbeast at 4:29 PM on May 5, 2010


I (or my parents) have a ton of old slides like this.

What's the easiest way to get them all digitized?
A service? One of those cheap slide scanner dealios, which always look like they're going to break an hour into the first scanning session?
posted by madajb at 5:07 PM on May 5, 2010


You could tell me the second and third fishing photos were taken last week and I wouldn't doubt you.

Particularly since the guy on the right in #3 is clearly Tony Hawk.
posted by Lazlo at 7:20 PM on May 5, 2010


For those wanting quality bulk-scanning of 35mm slides, scancafe is the usually-recommended place. Yes, it's offshore, but they are also reliable. Please don't bother with the crappy 5 megapixel $100 scanners.

Think_Long: one of the benefits of Kodachrome is that it doesn't fade under projection, so you can look at them with impunity as long as your projector isn't broken, e.g. missing the heat-absorbing glass. Newer E-6 films will fade a little with projection but we're talking a few hours per slide for a measurable effect; a minute or two each to check them is no problem. If it's early slide film and NOT Kodachrome (because there were other films available you know!), then you should definitely think about scanning because pretty much all of the early colour films except Kodachrome have terrible longevity.

Dwayne's (the last lab doing K processing) is stopping at the end of this year. If you have some unprocessed K-64, now is your last chance to shoot and soup it.
posted by polyglot at 10:48 PM on May 5, 2010


Some of those Masonic Lodge images are magic, mrbill -- especially the couple with the kid in the brown suit.

Maybe it's the fact that they're not all posed and smiling broadly -- lots of flat, affectless looks -- or the framing itself, but some of these look like Edward Hopper pieces translated to film.
posted by jrochest at 12:53 AM on May 6, 2010


Cars and ladies' hairstyles change a lot over time, boats and the clothes men wear fishing, not so much.

Are you kidding? I'd trade that for a dozen modern Jon Boats.

Wow, I was really surprised by the sharpness and clarity in these pictures.

Slide film = superior.
posted by clarknova at 10:24 AM on May 6, 2010


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