Kodachrome last remaining film roll developed in Kansas

Kodachrome ad Kodachrome was the first commercial film to successfully shoot in colour

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The final roll of Kodachrome film, a widely-lauded quality colour film, is to be developed in Kansas on Thursday.

Kodak announced it was discontinuing the iconic film in 2009, after competition from digital cameras caused a large sales decline.

Kodachrome is difficult to process, requiring expert handlers, and Dwayne's Photo in Kansas is the sole remaining developer.

The last film to be developed was shot by the owner, Dwayne Steinle.

Kodachrome film is renowned for its exceptional rendering of colour, vivid images and archival longevity. For many years, it was the preferred brand for print media.

Created in 1935, it was the first commercial film to successfully shoot in colour.

Kodachrome was also used for motion pictures.

Dwayne's Photo has been inundated with requests for developing, many from photographers who had been hoarding the coveted film for years.

One customer picked up 1,580 rolls of film used solely to shoot railroad engines. The nearly 50,000 slides cost $15,798 (£10,200) to develop.

BBC photo editor Phil Coomes has been documenting his own final days with Kodachrome, as well as collecting reader photographs on his BBC blog.

Afghan Girl
Sharbat Gula, Afghan Girl, at Nasir Bagh refugee camp near Peshawar, Pakistan, 1984. The Afghan Girl photo is recognized around the world (Courtesy of Steve McCurry/Magnum Photos)

One of Kodachrome's most famous admirers is National Geographic's Steve McCurry, the photojournalist who captured the world's attention with a haunting 1984 cover photograph of Sharbat Gula, an Afghan refugee girl with stunning green eyes.

Ms Gula, whose identity remained unknown for many years, did not see the image until a documentary film crew located her in 2003.

Although Mr Steinle developed his own Kodachrome roll last, Kodak gave the final roll it produced to Mr McCurry.

With just 36 frames to use, he travelled to India to photograph a tribe on the verge of extinction.

Mr McCurry also shot images of New York, Kansas and actor Robert DeNiro in a journey filmed as a documentary by National Geographic.

He hand-delivered the last roll to Dwayne's Photo earlier this year.

"I wasn't going to take any chances," he told the New York Times.

The National Geographic film is likely to air in spring 2011.

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