Before I begin, this blog isn't about the 35mm colour film, but rather the movie of the same name released in 2016. This also won't be a review. Critics earning their keep writing are probably more qualified to discuss the intricacies of Kodachrome, rather than a photographer who sometimes fails to write a sentence without a typo. My intention for this is to write about my 'takeaways' from the film and how they translate to photography.
1. The importance of physical prints
Ed Harris' character laments that nobody prints photographs nowadays- "it's all just data, in years to come there will be no records of anything". I don't entirely agree. The digital age won't stop evolving and the fact that more photos have been taken in the last month than the previous 50 years combined, leads me to think that if anything, too much will be recorded. However, there is something magical about prints. When a print is made it becomes a photo rather than just pixels, it becomes a physical entity. It means more. Viewers take time when looking at the image rather than swiping left and right and moving on. Something that I have vowed to do in my own practice is to get more prints of my favourite shots. I might also start giving free prints to some of my clients as a goodwill gesture- to spread the photography love if you will.
2. Photography is not something you can turn off
In the film, Ben (Ed Harris) has been a photographer all his working life. Yet on a final road trip, what is he doing? Taking photos. Photography is more than work, it's a lifestyle. You don't just retire and hang up the camera. The urge to press the shutter to document, to experience, to see, to create, to enquire, to grow, to learn is something that doesnt stop when you hit 70. It lives deep in the heart and soul of your being. It's an addiction of sorts. Maybe one that isn't altogether healthy, but one that you couldn't be without.
3. The power of a photo
It can be very easy to become philosophical about photos and photography in general. Near the end of the film, Ben said something that really resonated with me. "When you take a photo, you commit a moment to enternity". This illustrates the sheer power and importance of photography. An action that can be done in 1000th of a second freezes a moment that lasts forever. Now I am absolutely the target audience for this film so it's slightly preaching to the converted. However, I am endlessly fascinated by photography and the depth it can add to people's lives. This film was a gentle reminder and nudge to why I love it so much.