In the announcement of the demise of Kodachrome the other day, reader Luc Novovitch asked about Kodachrome Basin State Park in Utah. Our old friend Dan Westergren, Senior Photo Editor at National Geographic Traveler, has written a nice blog piece about the history of the name. The area, which encompasses the famous Grosvenor Arch pictured at right, was discovered, photographically at least, by an expedition led by National Geographic writer Jack Breed in 1949, who originally dubbed it "Kodachrome Flat" because it was so spectacularly photogenic. There's an ironic twist to this Grosvenor Arch picture, though! Nature photographers especially might be interested in checking out the link.
Meanwhile, Steve McCurry, whom Kodak has selected for the honor of shooting the ceremonial last roll of Kodachrome film later this year, has a new book out, and it's a beaut. Called The Unguarded Moment, it's a major retrospective of McCurry's best and favorite work shot over three decades. As you might expect, it includes pictures from all over the world, mostly Asia and the subcontinent. (Here's the U.K. link to the book.)
McCurry is an elite travel/location photographer at the very top of his game. Fortunately for us his work is thoroughly represented and readily experienced in books. The Unguarded Moment, which might be his masterpiece, consists of horizontal pictures set vertically on the page, so the book is in effect bound at the top rather than the side, like Stuart Klipper's The Antarctic. It features the same oversized format as Looking East, McCurry's book of portraits and one of our favorites from 2006. In fact the new book makes a perfect matched set with Looking East, "landscape format" pictures to the earlier book's "portrait format" ones but bound so they can stand side-by-side together on a shelf. It has the same lush, gorgeous, deep-hued reproduction quality that suits the pictures so beautifully (looking at reproduction like this is almost a sensual experience). It's a very fine set of pictures—street and slice-of-life scenes spiced here and there with the direct, soulful portaits that have long been McCurry's signature. Highly recommendable to anyone who likes exotic locations, masterful candid street photography, or just superbly reproduced color photography in general. If you don't want to buy it, see if your library has it. Just a very satisfying and enjoyable book, another standout from this photographer.
To wander back on topic, Steve McCurry estimates that he's shot some 800,000 pictures on Kodachrome, including his most famous one.