Today let us share some interesting historical story about colour. Colour remained an expensive and secondary medium until the 1960s, a century after the discovery that colour could be built up from three monochromatic images of red, green and blue(RGB). In Russia, Sergeii Prokudin-Gorskii took pictures using a camera with three separate lenses, each with a coloured filter. The three plates were then projected simultaneously onto a screen, as a magic lantern. His pictures so impressed Tsar Nicholas II that he was given a locomotive with a darkroom carriage and from 1909 to 1915 he travelled throughout Russia taking some 6,000 photographs. He moved to the US and in 1948 the Library of Congress inherited 2.000 images, which they have been reconstructing.

Burton Holmes, a showman in the Daguerre mould, could fill the Carnegie Hall with his travelogues of hand-painted photographs, first shown as magic lantern slides and, later, movies. For 60 years, until his death in 1952, he travelled the world in summer and lectured in winter. The Burton Holmes Travelogues, first published in 10 volumes in 1910, became a household name across America. The first successful commercial film was autochrome, marketed in 1903 by the Lumiere brothers in France. Early films of the world in colourful autochrome were orchestrated by French banker Albert Khan. From 1909 until I929, he was sending film makers to capture all they saw in some 50 countries.

Subjects were no longer monumental and grand, but domestic and social. Professional photographers such as Eugene Atget in Paris began taking city scenes, while static pictures from studios and cartcs dc visites gave way to more realistic representations. Inspiration no longer came from the old masters’ views, but the real-life images that were flickering onto the screens of moving pictures.

The first world war brought a new view of the world: from the sky. Aerial photography became part of daily reconnaissance life on the Front, and when the war was over pilots went off to train airmen around the world. There was money to be made in aerial photography, too. Standing, with one leg strapped to the passenger seat of his aircraft so he could lean out holding his camera, Captain Alfred G. Buckham found a living making aerial photographs of city skylines, much of them put together in the darkroom, where cloud effects and passing planes were added.

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