Early 1900s in Colour

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In the early part of the 20th century French-Jewish capitalist Albert Kahn set about to collect a photographic record of the world, the images were held in an ‘Archive of the Planet’. Before the 1929 stock market crash he was able to amass a collection of 180,000 metres of b/w film and more than 72,000 autochrome plates, the first industrial process for true colour photography


Autochrome was the first industrial process for true colour photography. When the Lumière brothers launched it commercially in June 1907, it was a photograhic revolution – black and white came to life in colour. Autochromes consist of fine layers of microscopic grains of potato starch dyed either red-orange, green or violet blue combined with black carbon particles, spread over a glass plate where it is combined with a black and white photographic emulsion. All colours can be reproduced from three primary colours.


A few photos from the collection.

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Dahomey – now Benin

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