Swinging And Sliding Parties

By | June 24, 2010

Afghan Girl by Steve McCurry, 1985Back in the depths of time, before the Internet, before DVDs, before digital projectors there was something called film. 35mm film cameras were the standard for recording images. You could get larger film formats, but 35mm is perfect for producing slides and is compact, yet big enough to produce quality negatives for quite large prints, with the right emulsion.

I read today that Kodak has announced it will be stopping production of its Kodachrome slide film soon. Now I’m not a big fan of the colour reproduction of Kodak emulsions, too saturated for most of the stuff I used to take. Indeed I like black and white anyway. However, that said the demise of Kodakchrome after 74 years is a bit of a milestone.

Not just for the photographic industry. Before digital getting naughty images involved a discrete and understanding lab to process your film if it was slide, and to print it if you were using negative film. That’s why it was the custom for certain artistic images to be viewed at men’s parties, just as erotic etching sand woodcuts might have been in centuries past.

The methods of production and dissemination of pornography limited its proliferation. In a way that made it more exciting. The all-pervasive nature of Internet porn means that unlike the images available to previous generations which would have been savoured and enjoyed the images created and viewed now are barely glimpsed, only a handful receiving careful and considered attention from the viewer.

As with all technology it’s another example of more choice reducing the attention span of the consumer and demanding an ever increasing amount of content.

The seminal image is on kodachrome by Steve McCurry and appeared on the cover of National Geographic in 1985.