Our earlier posting of early 20th century color photography in Russia generated quite a lot of interest, so we’re following up with a look at the work of French-Jewish photographer Albert Kahn. The excellent photo blog Citynoise posted a collection of Kahn’s experimental color photography from the early 1900s, for which he used a process called “autochrome”—a technology generally acknowledged to be the first industrial process for color photography. According to citynoise, autocrhome consists of “fine layers of microscopic grains of potato starch, dyed either red-orange, green or violet blue, combined with black carbon particles, and spread over a glass plate where it is combined with a black and white photographic emulsion.”
The colors are not as rich or vivid as the Russian chemist Sergei Prokudin-Gorskii was, but the subject matter is every bit as arresting. Kahn’s collection was called “An Archive of the Planet” and through his lenses we see everything from world war one trenches to Vietnamese harems … in color.