Image Collection Albert Kahn
Long obsessed with hand-tinted color photographs I saw a documentary on the amazing and indeed 'Wonderful World of Albert Kahn' some years ago on the BBC and bought the subsequent book an amazing early catalog of global cultures and adventures rendered in weird dream like tones. Turns out Kahn's early color process was something called the Autochrome an ethereal and other-worldly technique involving potato starch and soot.
Not content with already having invented cinema, the Autochrome was pioneered by the Lumiere Brothers who switched to stills photography after their adventures in cinema, patenting this first color process. It must have wowed a public already amazed by the new technology of the photograph when it was pioneered in 1907.
The technique went on to be adopted by those good folks at the National Geographic society and was the main color photographic process available to those early and adventurous snappers. Excerpts of the Nat Geo collection go on show tonight at the Steven Kasher Gallery in New York, check it out if you're about town.
New York Times photographer Stephen Crowley has a blog post over at Lens with a nice slideshow of images.
Jacob Gayer, Washington Tourists, Washington DC, 1926