In 2009, Kodak announced that it would stop producing its iconic Kodachrome film after nearly 75 years in production. Kodachrome is a big deal: it's so popular that a state park is named after it, and of course Paul Simon wrote a song about it. But why was Kodachrome so beloved? It was good, color slide film that held up well in the field and in archives. And in the first twenty-ish years, the cost of processing (developing and mounting the slides) was included in the purchase price. It was good stuff.*
Famed photographer Steve McCurry (the man who photographed the Afghan Girl for National Geographic — on Kodachrome!) asked to be given the last roll of Kodachrome off the assembly line. Kodak agreed. Then National Geographic followed McCurry as he shot those last 36 exposures. Here's what happened:
The last Kodak lab processing Kodachrome shut down in 2010, so Kodachrome is well and truly finished. You can see McCurry's last roll in a slideshow on his website.
* = Nerdy photography footnote. As a teenager, I learned photography using endless rolls of expired Agfachrome, and only rarely shot Kodachrome (the latter always looked yellow/orange to me). At my local camera shop, you could get five rolls of slightly expired, carefully refrigerated Agfachrome for three bucks (!), though processing still cost a fortune.