"Ce qui barre la route fait faire du chemin" (Jean de La Bruyère - 'Les Caractères')

jeudi 30 décembre 2010

Le Kodachrome au bout du rouleau

«Makes you think all the world’s a sunny day». C’est ainsi que, dans une chanson de 1973, Paul Simon évoquait la fameuse pellicule Kodachrome, appréciée par les photographes, amateurs ou professionnels, pour ses rouges profonds et ses contrastes saisissants.

Le rayon de soleil que ce film réversible Kodak a projeté sur le monde depuis 75 ans va définitivement s’éteindre dans quelques heures : le dernier rouleau de Kodachrome sera développé aujourd’hui par une petite entreprise familiale à Parsons, dans le Kansas, au centre des Etats-Unis.

C’est le dernier laboratoire de la planète qui traitait encore ce film. La firme Kodak a fermé les uns après les autres les 25 labos officiels de la marque qui, à l’apogée du Kodachrome, développaient cette pellicule. Les trois derniers, aux Etats-Unis, au Japon et en Suisse, ont définitivement cessé leurs activités ces derniers mois ou ces dernières années.

Depuis 2009, Kodak ne fabriquait plus les produits chimiques nécessaires au développement du Kodachrome en laboratoire. Les dates de péremption de toutes les bobines de Kodachrome encore en circulation ne vont pas au delà du 31 décembre 2010.

Le dernier point de résistance à cette inexorable agonie, c’est donc cette entreprise du Kansas qui a fait des réserves de produits révélateurs et fixateurs et qui possède la dernière machine Kodachrome en état de fonctionnement.

Aujourd’hui 30 décembre, à la mi-journée heure locale, ce sont des photos prises par le patron de labo, Dwaine Steinle, qui seront les dernières à passer dans la dernière développeuse Kodachrome au monde. Ensuite, la machine sera envoyée à la casse.

Dans sa chanson, Paul Simon suppliait : «Mama, don’t take my Kodachrome away !». Cette supplique résonne dans le vide : le Kodachrome est au bout du rouleau. Plus rien ne viendra l’impressionner.


Source : "The New York Times"

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