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HomeContentsOnline exhibitions > Autochromes: Introduction

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The Autochrome is a color photograph on a glass plate. Patented in 1903 and commercialized in 1907, it was the first practical color process available to both professional and amateurs photographers.
John Wood starts the preface of his wonderful book The Art of the Autochrome: The Birth of Color Photography with these words: "The Autochrome is the rarest, the most fragile, and, to a great many eyes, the most beautiful of photographic processes. It represents not just the birth of color photography but color as luminous as the camera ever caught it."
The Autochrome spanned 25 years in the history of photography, before being superseded by newer technologies such as Kodachrome and its fragility and the difficulties to display an Autochrome could explain why the process has not always received the attention it deserved: Digital technologies allow us to access collections by scanning the Autochrome plates and to display them without further manipulation and this provides the Autochrome with a chance of being rediscovered.
This exhibition does not intend to cover in depth all the different aspects of Autochrome photography but will attempt to explore selected subjects such as: The history of the process, its technique, artistic expression, travel and documentary, war in color, the Autochrome in print, operators etc.
We would like to consider this exhibition as an interactive project in constant evolution where images and information can be added by anyone anytime. Hopefully, with time, this exhibition will do justice to the Autochrome by reaching a new audience who will discover this wonderful process that has never been equaled in beauty by all the subsequent color processes.
Nadia Valla



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