The quest to create a lasting, permanent color photograph began around the same time as the mediums inception in the 1840s. But it wasn’t until 1907 that the Lumiére brothers introduced the Autochrome, the first commercially successful color photographic process. Expensive and burdensome, the Autochrome was replaced in 1936 by Kodak’s now extinct Kodachrome−the film that brought color pictures to the masses and filled our photographs and memories with stunning, vivid colors.
Since the advent of Kodachrome, numerous types and styles of color film have been introduced: slide, print, fast, slow, saturated, neutral, tungsten and many others. Over the past few years, the choices have steadily dwindled as more and more photographers turn from the use of film to digital cameras.
Color film, unlike black and white, is complicated and laborious to produce and as manufacturers streamline their operations to meet declining market demand, choices are diminishing. For those who still favor film, its high resolution, extended dynamic range and unique look has yet to be matched even by today’s most expensive digital sensors. This may sound bleak but it’s not all bad.