When Charlie Vendetti opened a photography studio in Newington in 1968 after leaving the Hartford Times, he depended on Eastman Kodak for color — on its Kodachrome product especially.
"I used to have two men who didn't do anything but drive back and forth to Fairlawn, N.J.," the location of a Kodachrome processing facility, he said Monday, the day Kodak announced it would no longer produce the world's first commercially successful color film.
Sales of Kodachrome now make up less than 1 percent of the company's total sales of still-picture films. Only one photo lab in the country still processes it, Dwayne's Photo in Parsons, Kan.
Introduced in 1935, Kodachrome became part of American culture, aided by Paul Simon, among others, who sang about in a 1973 song called "Kodachrome."
"They give us those nice bright colors. They give us the greens of summers. Makes you think all the world's a sunny day," he sang. "... So, Mama, don't take my Kodachrome away."
Abraham Zapruder's film of President John F. Kennedy's assassination was captured on a Kodachrome product.
Vendetti, 77, and still in business in Hartford's South End, took pictures used in advertisements for the likes of International Silver, Anaconda Copper and Fafnir Bearing — prominent state firms during the film's heyday of the 1950s and 1960s.
Sold in canisters and converted into projector slides during processing, Kodachrome images were known for their fine grain, sharp definition and warm tone.
The loss of Kodachrome won't hurt Vendetti or many other people — he hasn't used it for decades and said he wouldn't know where to buy or process it now.
"We've gone practically all digital," he said.
Still, Vendetti remembers Kodachrome fondly — mainly for images he took on vacation.
"Most of them were of my kids," he said.
Like Everywhere Else, Kodachrome Left Its Mark On Connecticut
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