Autochrome - an early attempt to capture the world in color

The Autochrome Lumière is an early color photography process. Patented in 1903 by the Lumière brothers in France and first marketed in 1907, it was the principal color photography process in use before the advent of subtractive color film in the mid-1930s (more at wikipedia)

At about 1909 the French banker and philanthropist Albert Kahn started his ambitious project to create a photographic record in color of, and for, the peoples of the world. He seems to have been an idealist and international interested, Kahn marveled about the just invented new autochrome process, the world's more and first user-friendly, true-colour photographic system, which didn't use hand coloring. His idea had been to promote cross-cultural peace and understanding with virtual means.


The photos, made with this early auto-chrome cameras, are even today still magnificent and were intended to reflect different cultures, from Ireland to America to China to Japan to the Balkans to Mongolia to France and any other direction and country you might imagine.

His archive consisted of over 72,000 auto-chrome camera color photos and also thousands of feet of black and white moving images.  From everyday Parisian scenes to exotic scenes in asia and Africa his photographers captured scenes around the world that are now more than 100 years old.

Kahn used his vast fortune to send a group of intrepid photographers to more than fifty countries around the world, often at crucial junctures in their history, when age-old cultures were on the brink of being changed for ever by war and the march of twentieth-century globalization. 

His legacy is still kept at the Musée Albert-Kahn at his estate near Paris. It is now considered to be the most important collection of early colour photographs in the world. The museum and BBC produced a series of five films to bring this ode to life and humanity to a wider public. This also marks the effort by the French département of Hauts-de-Seine, owner of the Kahn collections, to preserve and enhance awareness of this exceptional heritage. 

The Musée Albert-Kahn is based at Kahn's former home at 14 rue du Port in Boulogne-Billancourt, a suburb west of Paris. The museum and gardens are open daily between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. from the beginning of May to the end of September and between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. for the rest of the year. For contact details and information in English about exhibitions and transport links, visit this website.  And there is some good information to be found here as well.

have a look as well at my Pinterest collection here.

and there is more information about the museum at:

and about the series at BBC books here and at BBC player when it works.

French Children Photographer

French Children Photographer

Tetsuji Honna and the National Symphony Orchestra