NYT LENS interviews Kodachrome Memory photographer Nathan Benn

Ironically, until on assignment for National Geographic, Nathan Benn photographed exclusively in black-and-white. Along with brilliant color, the switch to Kodachrome film meant longer film preservation — a quality responsible for Benn rediscovering and subsequently curating his old Kodachrome archive. Nathan Benn’s new photo book Kodachrome Memory: American Pictures 1972-1990 pays tribute to the memory of Eastman Kodak’s rich film through beautiful scenes of American regionalism. And, as The New York Times LENS Blog discovers via interview with the photographer, the memory of Kodachrome also triggers the memories and stories behind Benn’s specific photos.

“The book collects 108 prints taken from the 350,000 transparencies Mr. Benn shot for National Geographic over nearly 20 years. But it features the pictures he treasures, not the ones his editors did — only a handful were published in the magazine. These images blend what Richard Buckley in the foreword calls Mr. Benn’s ‘painterly understanding of composition, light and color’ with ‘the formality of their framing and the looseness and spontaneity of a snapshot.'”

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Kodachrome Memory: American Pictures 1972-1990