History of Photography


History of Photography

A World History of Photography

The Story Behind the Pictures 1827-1991

Photographers' Dictionary



Chapter 6












Photographs in Color

Of all the technological innovations occurring in photography between 1870 and 1920, none was more tantalizing or possessed greater potential for commercial exploitation than the discovery of how to make images in color. This search, which had begun with the daguerreotype, entailed much dead-end experimentation before a practicable it temporary solution was found in the positive glass Autochrome plate, marketed in 1907 by its inventors the Lumiere brothers (pi. no. 325) (see A Short Technical History, Part II). Though easy to use, the process required long exposures, was expensive, and though the colors were subtle they were not faultless. Because a simple, efficient method of turning the transparencies into satisfactory photographic color prints was not available, the images had to be viewed in a diascopc (single) or stereograph viewer; as late as the 1920s commercial portraitists still were being advised to send black and white work out to be hand -painted when a color image was desired. Nevertheless, Autochrome from the start attracted amateurs with leisure and money, photographers of flowers and nature, and in the United States, especially, indhiduals and studios involved in producing commercial images for publication. It also appealed briefly to aesthetic photographers who recognized at the time that rather than augmenting reality, color was best treated as another facet of artistic expressiveness (see Chapter 7).


325. UNKNOWN PHOTOGRAPHER (French). Lumiere Brothers, n.d.
Gelatin silver print. La Fondation Nationale dc [3 Photographic, Lyon, France.

French "autochromistes" followed the example of the Lumieres (pi. nos. 342 and 343) in documenting family activities at home, at play, and in their professions. Among professionals, Jules Gervais-Courtellemont photographed in the Near and Far East (pi. no. 344) and documented aspects of World War II; views of military life (pi no. 345) by Jean Tournassoud (later director of photography for the French Army) are other examples of interest in this theme. Autochrome appealed to Lartigue; convinced that "life and color cannot be separated from each other," he took elegant if somewhat mannered snapshots exemplified by Bibi in Nice (pi. no. 351), and for a brief while this color process was used in a similar fashion throughout Europe.

Not surprisingly, amateurs who liked to photograph flowers were delighted by Autochrome, but it also attracted a serious nature photographer, Henry Irving, who was quick to recognize the value of even a flawed system for botanical studies (pi. no. 348). While employed less frequently by documentary photographers, Autochrome was used by William Rau, the Philadelphia commercial photographer of railroad images who by the turn of the century had become interested in artistic camera expression; Produce (pi. no. 347) is an example of a subject and treatment unusual in the color work of the time.

While Autochrome (and its commercial variants) was based on the theory of adding primary colors together on one plate to effect the full range of spectral hues, experithat used a prism to bring the three color plates into one sharply focused image. Because of the cumbersomencss of tripling the exposure, the subjects, taken throughout Rus¬sia, had to be more or less immobile, but despite the technical and logistical difficulties of this complicated undertaking, Prokudin-Gorskii produced what surely must be the most ambitious color documentation of the time. In its early stages, it was hoped that color would add an element of naturalness to the image—the missing ingredient in verisimilitude—since actuality obviously was many-hued rather dian monochromatic as shown in photographs. However, as photographers began to work with the materials they realized that rather than making camera images more real, color dyes comprised another elementments that led to the production of three different color negatives that subsequently were superimposed and either projected or made into color prints were also in progress (see A Short Technical History, Part II). Around 1904, this procedure was used for an extensive documentation of Russian life conceived by Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii, a well-educated member of the Russian Imperial Technological Society. An educational and ethnographic project made with the tsar's patronage, it involved the production of three color-separation negatives on each plate by using a camera with a spring-operated mechanism that changed filters and repeated the exposures three times. After development, these were projected in an apparatus that had to be considered in terms of its expressive potential. The recognition that the seductiveness of color— its capacity to make ordinary objects singularly attractive— would have a powerful effect on the fields of advertising and publicity was the paramount stimulus in efforts that led to another breakthrough in color technology in the 1930s.

By 1890, photography no longer was an arcane craft practiced by initiates for whom artistic, informational, and social purposes were conjoined in the same image. Trans-formed and compartmentalized as a result of changes in materials, processes, techniques, and equipment, photo-graphs became at once highly specialized and everybody's business (and for some, big business). In the face of the medium's capacity to provide information and entertainment on such a broad scale, a small group of photographers struggled to assert the medium's artistic potential, to lend weight to an observation made some 40 years earlier that photography had "two distinct paths"—art and science— "to choose from."

342. LUMIERE BROTHERS. Lumiere Family in the Garden at La Ciotat, c. 1907-15.
Autochrome. Ilford S.A., France.

343. LUMIERE BROTHERS. Untitled, c. 1907-15.
Autochrome. Fondation Nationale de la Photographic, Lyon. France.

Auguste and Louis Lumiere

(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

The Lumière brothers, Auguste Marie Louis Nicolas (19 October 1862, Besançon, France – 10 April 1954, Lyon) and Louis Jean (5 October 1864, Besançon, France – 6 June 1948, Bandol), were among the earliest filmmakers.
The Lumières held their first private screening of projected motion pictures March 22, 1895. Their first public screening of movies at which admission was charged was held on December 28, 1895, at Paris's Salon Indien du Grand Café. This history-making presentation featured ten short films, including their first film, Sortie des Usines Lumière à Lyon (Workers Leaving the Lumière Factory). Each film is 17 meters long, which, when hand cranked through a projector, runs approximately 46 seconds.
It is believed their first film was actually recorded that same year (1895)[3] with Léon Bouly's cinématographe device, which was patented the previous year. The cinématographe— a three-in-one device that could record, develop, and project motion pictures— was further developed by the Lumières.
Max and Emil Skladanowsky, inventors of the Bioskope, had offered projected moving images to a paying public one month earlier (November 1, 1895, in Berlin). Neverless, film historians consider the Grand Café screening to be the true birth of the cinema as a commercial medium, because the Skladanowsky brothers' screening used an extremely impractical dual system motion picture projector that was immediately supplanted by the Lumiere cinematographe.

344. JULES GERVAIS-COURTELLEMONT. Canal at Bierre, 1907-20.
Autochrome. Cinematheque Robert Lynon de la Ville de Paris.

345. JEAN TOURNASSOUD. Army Scene, c. 1914.
Autochrome. Fondation Nationale de la Photographic, Lyon, France.

346. STEPHANE PASSET. Mongolian Horsewoman, c. 1913.
Autochrome. Albert Kahn Collection, Hauts-de-Seine, France.

347. WILLIAM RAU. Produce, c. 1910.
Autochrome. Library Company of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

348. HENRY IRVING. Cornflowers, Poppies, Oat, Wheat, Corncockle. c. 1907.
Autochrome. British Museum (Natural History), London.

349. HEINRICH KUEHN. Mother and Children on the Hillside, 1905.
Autochrome. Robert Miller Gallery, New York.

35O. FRANK EUGENE. Emmy and Kitty, Tutzing, Bavaria, 1907.
Autochrome. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

351. JACQ ES HENRI LARTIGUE. Bibi in Nice,1920. Autochrome.

 (see collection)

The Origins of Color in Camera

The images reproduced in this section constitute a brief pictorial survey of the ways in which color was made part of the photographic image from the inception of the medium up through the invention of the first viable additive color process. It opens with an example of a cyanotype, an early discovery whose brilliant blue was thought to be too unrealistic, and follows with a selection of daguerreotypes and paper prints that were hand-colored by tinting or painting to make them more lifelike or artistic. This group also includes works in carbon and gum bichromate—the manipulative processes that permitted photographers working from about the 1860s through the turn of the century to introduce colored pigments into their positive prints. These are succeeded by examples of the early efforts to produce color images by using colored filters or incorporating dyes into the light-sensitive film emulsions. The first such color experiment—an image of a tartan ribbon— is the work of James Clerk Maxwell, a theoretical physicist who used the additive system to demonstrate color vision by projecting three black and white images through colored filters to achieve a surprising full-color image. The experiments of Ducos du Hauron, John Joly, and Auguste and Louis Lumiere—the inventors of Autochrome—are shown, as are examples of work in Autochrome by enthusiasts in Europe and the United States who in the early years of the 20th century recorded family and friends, documented nature, and made aesthetic statements using its mellow hues.


329. ANNA ATKINS. Lycopodium Flagellatum (Algae), 1840S-50S. Cyanotype.
Gemsheim Collection, Humanities Research Center, University of Texas, Austin.

330. UNKNOWN PHOTOGRAPHER (AMERICAN). Blacksmiths, 1850s.
 Daguerreotype with applied color. Collection Leonard A. Walle, Northville, Mich.

331, W. E. KILBURN. The Great Chemist Meeting on Kennington Common, April 10, 1848.
Daguerreotype with applied color. Royal Library, Windsor Castle, England.
Reproduced by Gracious Permission of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

332. T. Z. VOGEL and C. REICHARDT. Seated Girl, c. i860.
 Albumen print with applied color. Agfa-Gevaert Foto-Historama, Cologne, Germany.

333. FELICE BEATO (ATTRIBUTED). Woman Using Cosmetics, c. 1867.
Albumen print with applied color, from a published album now without title, Yokohama, Japan, 1868.
Art, Prints, and Photographs Division, New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox, and Tilden Foundations; Gift of Miss E. F. Thomas, 1924.

(see collection)

(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Felice Beato (born 1833 or 1834, died c.1907), sometimes known as Felix Beato, was a Corfiote photographer. He was one of the first photographers to take pictures in East Asia and one of the first war photographers. He is noted for his genre works, portraits, and views and panoramas of the architecture and landscapes of Asia and the Mediterranean region. Beato's travels to many lands gave him the opportunity to create powerful and lasting images of countries, people and events that were unfamiliar and remote to most people in Europe and North America. To this day his work provides the key images of such events as the Indian Rebellion of 1857 and the Second Opium War. His photographs represent the first substantial oeuvre of what came to be called photojournalism. He had a significant impact on other photographers, and Beato's influence in Japan, where he worked with and taught numerous other photographers and artists, was particularly deep and lasting.
The origins and identity of Felice Beato have been problematic issues, but the confusion over his birth date and birthplace seems now to have been substantially cleared up. Based on an application for a travel permit that he made in 1858, Beato was born in 1833 or 1834 on the island of Corfu. At the time of his birth, Corfu was part of the British protectorate of the Ionian Islands, and so Beato would have qualified as a British subject. Corfu had previously been a Venetian possession, and this fact goes some way to explaining the many references to Beato as "Italian" and "Venetian" member of the Corfiot Italians. The Beato family is recorded as having moved to Corfu in the 17th century and was one of the noble Venetian families that ruled the island during the Republic of Venice.
Because of the existence of a number of photographs signed "Felice Antonio Beato" and "Felice A. Beato", it was long assumed that there was one photographer who somehow managed to photograph at the same time in places as distant as Egypt and Japan. But in 1983 it was shown by Chantal Edel that "Felice Antonio Beato" represented two brothers, Felice Beato and Antonio Beato, who sometimes worked together, sharing a signature. The confusion arising from the signatures continues to cause problems in identifying which of the two photographers was the creator of a given image.

FELICE BEATO. Coolie, 1870

FELICE BEATO. Coolie, 1868

334. LEWIS CARROLL (REV. CHARLES L. DODGSON). Beau-ice Hatch, 1873.
Albumen print with applied color. Rosenbach Museum and Library, Philadelphia.
Trustees of the C. L. Dodgson Estate.

(see collection)

335. ADOLPHE BRAUN. Still Life with Deer and Wildfowl, c. 1865.
Carbon print. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; David Hunter McAlpin Fund, 1947.

336. EDWARD STEICHEN. The Flatiron, 1905.
 Gumbichromate over platinum. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

(see collection)

(b Luxembourg, 27 March 1879; d West Redding, CT, 25 March 1973).

American photographer, painter, designer and curator of Luxembourgeois birth. Steichen emigrated to the USA in 1881 and grew up in Hancock, MI, and Milwaukee, WI. His formal schooling ended when he was 15, but he developed an interest in art and photography. He used his self-taught photographic skills in design projects undertaken as an apprentice at a Milwaukee lithography firm. The Pool-evening (1899; New York, MOMA) reflects his early awareness of the Impressionists, especially Claude Monet, and American Symbolist photographers such as Clarence H. White. While still in Milwaukee, his work came to the attention of White, who provided an introduction to Alfred Stieglitz; Stieglitz was impressed by Steichen’s work and bought three of his photographs.



Portrait of Miss Sawyer


337. JAMES CLERK MAXWELL. Tartan Ribbon, 1861.
Reproduction print from a photographic projection. Science Museum, London.

338. LOUIS DUCOS DU HAURON. Diaphanie (Leaves), 1869.
Three-color carbon assembly print. Societe Franchise de Photographic, Paris.

339. LOUIS DUCOS DU HAURON. View of Angouleme, France (Agen), 1877.
Heliochrome (assembly) print. International Museum of Photography at George Eastman House, Rochester, N.Y.

340. LOUIS DUCOS DU HAURON. Rooster and Parrot, 1879.
Heliochrome (assembly) print. International Museum of Photography at George Eastman House, Rochester, N.Y.

341. JOHN JOLY. Arum Lily and Anthuriums, 1898.
Joly process print. Kodak Museum, Harrow, England.

352. LAURA GILPIN. Still Life, 1912.

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