Paper Art, the Autochrome

Needless to say, I was really inspired by Kelly’s post yesterday. Early methods of color photography are fascinating.

My first exposure to the autochrome was at the California Museum of Photography at UC Riverside. One of my best friends curated a small exhibit of photographs that revolved around this early type of photography.

starlet with flowers autochrome

This is one from their collection. I’m still a little iffy on how this process actually works, but I know that it involves microscopic grains of potato starch dyed shades of red, green and blue that create a screen on a glass plate for light to pass through. When you look at an autochrome up close, you can see the individual grains of starch, which makes it look almost like a microscopic pointellism painting.

albert kahn vietnam

This image, and the ones that follow it, were taken by Albert Kahn. He was actually a very wealthy French banker, and in 1909 decided to set out on a trip around the world to photograph people from various cultures. This is a woman who was living in Vietnam at the time.

albert kahn norway

This was taken in Norway.

albert kahn ireland

This was taken in Ireland.

The thing that really strikes me about this project is that it was never intended to be artful. It was simply a documentation project which he hoped would promote peace and understanding.

The images and information are from the California Museum of Photography and the Albert Kahn website.