Monday, October 20, 2014

Monday Poetry Stretch - Kodachrome

Over the last few weeks I have been scanning slides and revisiting old family photos. My uber-cute brother and sister are in the picture below! Don't you just love those Easter basket sunglasses?
While immersed in this project I've been reminded me of a story NPR ran a few years ago about a photo historian who found an archive of more than 14,000 photos taken by Charles W. Cushman. Cushman began using Kodachrome soon after it came out and used it to capture the world in ways it had never been seen before. 

You can hear the story at The Found Archive of Charles W. Cushman. Better yet, you can see some of the photos at Lost and Found: Discover a Black-and-White Era in Full Color.

Our family slides are not great works of art, but they contain an awful lot of history. I'm amazed that this array of images has captured the evolution of the television, clothing, hairstyles, and cars. So, today I'm thinking about old kodachrome and photographs. I hope you'll join me this week in writing about them. Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.


  1. When I was a senior in high school, our house was flooded. Our memories became crumpled and wet. Our photos are all in a box, curled and worn. But the flood did not dampen our family spirit and love. Thanks for sharing your photo today.

  2. I've always heard of Kodachrome, but I don't know exactly what it is. I guess I'll have to do a little research to participate this week:>)

    1. I grew up in the home of Kodak, so I guess I always thought folks knew this. Kodachrome was one of the first color films developed for taking pictures.

      And of course, I love the song by Paul Simon. Here's an excerpt of the lyrics. Maybe his definition will make more sense!

      They give us those nice bright colors
      They give us the greens of summers
      Makes you think all the world's a sunny day
      I got a Nikon camera
      I love to take a photograph
      So mama don't take my Kodachrome away

  3. Little Girls

    Two little girls in pink
    Easter dresses, each
    holding a flower like a candle.

    My sister’s on the right.
    Our dresses matched,
    our white shoes shone.
    The one on the left,
    that was me, not smiling.

    The flowers were red
    and the grass was green.

    I’m not her at all.
    And she wasn’t the person
    I am now, was she?

    What does it mean,
    this old photo
    of the little girls
    in the pink dresses?

    —Kate Coombs, 2014
    all rights reserved

    While moving Grandpa’s knickknacks from the attic
    I discover a dusted, scuffed shoebox.
    In it, an array of amber coated photographs.
    There’s Grandma dancing in white lace gloves,
    Mom and Dad walking down the aisle with confetti
    Falling like a snowstorm, Grandpa holding me as an
    Infant, his dark horn rimmed glasses unable to camouflage
    The sparkle in his eyes.

    (c) Charles Waters 2014 all rights reserved