Exquisite yet too fragile to exhibit, one of the world’s greatest collection of autochromes – colour photography’s pioneering process – is presented to a wide audience for the first time.
Offering unprecedented access to the V&A’s collection of autochromes – one of the greatest collections of early colour photography in the world – Colour Mania presents this pioneering photographic process in its full, vibrant, wondrous and painterly beauty and provides a breathtaking view of the early 20th century in colour. These autochromes are so fragile and light sensitive that they cannot be displayed in public – this book presents the only chance to see them.
Invented by the Lumière brothers – also pioneers of cinema – autochrome was the first widely available direct colour photography process and remained so for the next twenty years. Upon its commercial release in 1907, it was eagerly embraced by Pictorialist photographers and advocated by its leading member Alfred Stieglitz, who predicted ‘a mania for colour’. Photographed with great care for this book, the V&A’s abundant collection of autochromes is brought to the public for the very first time. Organized thematically and with sections focusing in-depth on the photographers who engaged with the process Colour Mania is built upon the latest scholarship and research by Catlin Longford and includes insights into how these extraordinary photographs are being preserved for future generations. An opportunity to travel in time and understand a tour de force in photographic technology, Colour Mania will delight anyone who desires to experience the past in colour.