The Wonderful World of Albert Kahn


Autochrome of a fringe-maker in Galway, Ireland during May 1913 © Musée Albert Kahn

The BBC4 Edwardians season has just shown part one of a nine-part series on the remarkable Albert Kahn collection of early colour photographs and actuality films, taken from Kahn’s Archives de la Planete. Kahn was a millionaire Parisian banker who decided to create a visual record of the world in the early twentieth century using the new Autochrome photograph process invited by the Lumière brothers (also inventors of the Cinématographe, of course). He sent photographers to over 50 countries. They took more than 72,000 colour pictures and around 100 hours of (monochrome) film footage, recording sights and scenes across the world in an unprecedented documentary exercise.

The first four parts are being shown under the slightly misleading title of The Edwardians in Colour. The remaining five parts will feature in a future set of programmes on the 1920s.

Update: For background information on Albert Kahn, and links to various sources, see the Seaching for Albert Kahn post on this blog.

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