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Upcoming Book 'An American Odyssey' Features Rare First Color Photographs of the USA

The book is slated for release beginning next month, but we don't have to wait that long to have a glimpse of the marvelous photochrom images of the United States of America between the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Have a look at some of the photos featured in "An American Odyssey" after the jump!

Nearly two decades before the Lumière brothers invented their Autochrome process, lithographer Hans Jakob Schmid had already invented the photochrom process in Switzerland. As stated on the the FAQ portion of An American Odyssey on publisher Taschen’s website, the process came to America when it was transmitted to the Detroit Photographic Company between 1895 and 1896, and was then manufactured there as the “Aäc color photography process.” A photochrom is “a color proof obtained by transferring a black and white photographic negative on numerous lithographic stones: one for each final wanted color.” The photochrom postcard images that can be found on the upcoming book were taken from the private collection of Marc Walter, who also co-authored the book with Sabine Arqué.

Now, these photochroms were hailed by the book’s editors as some of the “first color photographs of the American continent,” as quoted by Time. Among the photographs that were included were images “from Native American settlements to New York’s Chinatown, from some of the last cowboys to Coney Island’s heyday.” An American Odyssey has more than 600 pages and is set to be published by the Cologne, Germany-based Taschen this coming June.

All information in this article were sourced from Taschen and Time via DesignTAXI. Meanwhile, the images featured in this article were all from Collection Marc Walter via Taschen.

written by chooolss

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