Monday 5 Things™…..Mama Don’t Take My Kodachrome Away…..

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Photo: D. Paul Graham, In the Pits at Watkins Glen, 2021

Monday 5 Things™…..Mama Don’t Take My Kodachrome Away…..

As I sorted through the three to four thousand images that I took each day at Watkins Glen for the Ferrari Challenge race series last week, I found myself thinking how photography has changed since my days of using Kodachrome. Photographic technology has changed radically with digital imaging – for starters, I wouldn’t have taken that many images with Kodachrome – but the importance of photographs has not. This M5T snapshot from 2017 just seemed like a good start to this week.

About a two years ago I started to review thousands of my 35mm slides, quite literally over 10,000 transparencies, going back as far as 1978 and up until the final years that I stopped shooting Kodachrome in 2003. I narrowed those down to just over 2,000 slides that I recently had professionally scanned for my archives. As I’ve been sorting and storing the scanned files, I can’t help but keep humming Paul Simon’s “Kodachrome” as I relive those epochs of my life. Today’s M5T reflects on the importance of memories captured in photographs.

1. Photographs capture events that have shaped our lives.

Photographs are life markers that arrest the continuum of the excellent, the good, the bad, and the ugly. Travels, special occasions, chance moments with people and things that have meaning at the time, and perhaps even capture cultural artifacts. Any of which can trigger memories of feeling alive, the experience of joy, or even moments of angst, or anger.

2. Photographs can recall, renew, or revive relationships.

Perhaps your first, your true, your lost, or even your unrequited loves. Family and friends that are still in our lives today, lost from yesterday, and those that have passed onto eternity are captured and celebrated in those pictures.

3. Photographs may not be as sharp as the original moment in time.

Even though the scans are high quality, the original Kodachrome originals transparencies are sharper and have greater color intensity and saturation. Our memories can wane, change, or diminish as we get older and may not always be the accurate reflection and definition of that moment in time.

4. Photographs and our memories need to be protected.

Just as silver halides in paper or transparencies fade over time, so do our memories. Both should be cherished, stored, and made available and accessible to be shared for ourselves, for our family, for our friends, and for the posterity of time.

5. Photographs and memories are made.

Ansel Adams said, “you don’t take a photograph, you make it.” The photographs we make are not simply just the things we see. Rather, photographs are the things we choose to see and how we see them. In parallel, we can choose a life that is like a stark snapshot devoid of excitement. Or we can choose to make a life with the contrast and luminosity of a breath-taking photograph that captures light, with strong composition and emotion that moves you and others that cross your path.

As Paul Simon wrote, “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”.

Here’s to the 1.4 trillion pictures that will be made or taken this year and to memories that no one can take away.

© 2021 D. Paul Graham, all rights reserved

D. Paul Graham is passionate about people, culture, photography and business. He has embraced his wanderlust with his travels around the globe and is at peace with his need for spirited drives in all things automotive.

You can find M5T each Monday here on and by friending D. Paul Graham on Facebook. Paul is also a contributing photographer to South Magazine. His photographic work can be found on Instagram @dpgraham and at . Your feedback is always welcome. Email Paul at