Kodachrome Culture: The American Tourist in Europe

Past Event

Men sipping coffee in an outdoor cafe in Italy.
Trieste, Italy, 1956

Photo by B. Anthony Stewart

Beach in Spain

Beach in Spain

Photo by Franc & Jean Shor

Planning a “staycation” this summer?

Visit National Geographic and take a trip to the postwar boom years when American tourists roamed Europe. Families had money for travel and a curiosity about the world. A reflection of the growing interest in Europe, the pages of National Geographic brought its readership closer to the places they longed to visit. Scenes rendered in vivid color by Kodachrome film showcased beautiful landscapes and cultural traditions. The articles served as travel reports from the field and encouraged American tourists.

Kodachrome’s early advantages have been surpassed by newer technology with film largely replaced by digital files. As a result Kodak has decided to retire Kodachrome film this year after a 74-year run. National Geographic has also moved on, adapting and expanding its approach to documenting the world. The Kodachrome images in this exhibition recall when color photography offered a fresh look at our world.

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