Eastman Kodak Co. has announced it will put Kodachrome into
the discontinued bin, where it joins Polaroid in the retirement community for storied, but outdated,
A recent Palm Beach Post article about the demise of the beloved,
if increasingly obsolete, film stock sparked some discussion at the Boca Raton
Museum of Art. The story was accompanied by an image of Steve McCurry's iconic Afghan
Girl, a compelling portrait
originally photographed on Kodachrome and reproduced on a 1985 cover of
This turned a few heads at the Museum, as we are fortunate
enough to own a large print of Afghan Girl in our Permanent Collection. Our
piece - which was a gift of the artist in 2008 - is a stunning Fuji Crystal
Archive print. The Museum originally displayed a version of Afghan Girl in the
summer 2004 exhibition Steve McCurry: Photographs of Asia, which was made
possible by McCurry and Richard Coplan.
McCurry's image made for one of the most stirring covers in
National Geographic's history, but a glossy magazine reprint can hardly do
justice to the piece. The Museum's 21 ľ
x 14 1/8 inch print reveals the depth captured by McCurry's lens,
including the detail of the girl's frayed garment and the stark intensity of
her pale, piercing eyes.
Incidentally, if you're unfamiliar with the story of how
McCurry originally met the "Girl" - the then, 12-year-old Sharbat Gula - and
his long awaited and fought-for reunion with her nearly two decades later, NPR did a wonderful
piece on the subject in 2002. The provided link includes an audio recording of the report.
Afghan Girl can currently be seen in Camera Work:
Photography from the Permanent Collection, on display in the Museum's second
floor photo gallery.