Albert Kahn and his wonderful world

Enthusiasts for Albert Kahn, autochrome photography and the BBC series The Wonderful World of Albert Kahn will be delighted to learn that there is now a BBC website devoted to Kahn. Its prime purpose is to promote the new book The Wonderful World of Albert Kahn: Colour Photographs from a Lost Age, by David Okuefuna (published 24 April), but it also has a selection of autochrome images, linked to a map of the world (courtesy of Flickr), a biography of Kahn and information on the Musée Albert-Kahn in Paris. The latter section refers to DVDs, implying that these come out of the BBC/ Musée Albert-Kahn collaboration. There is no further information given. My understanding has been is that there were no plans for a DVD release of the series, but that the museum might be releasing its own DVDs. I’ll try to find out more.

Further information on Albert Kahn, including a more extensive set of links with information on autochromes in general and the films taken as part of his ‘Archives of Planet’ project can be found on the Searching for Albert Kahn post on this site.

7 responses

  1. The collaboration between BBC and the Musee produced the most wonderful programme I have seen. Unfortunately, in Sydney it was shown at 3.00 in the afternoon. A DVD should really be made of this series, I honestly believe there will be a demand for the DVD’s. Erin. Sydney

  2. The demand is certainly there, and the television series has been really popular here in the UK, moving from the minority arts channel BBC4 to BBC2 and then repeated, but it seems there are licensing issues which have prevented a DVD release. It may be that the Musée Albert Kahn has its own DVD plans, and doesn’t want the BBC programmes to interfere with these. I’m hopeful of a bit more information when the Musée re-opens on 17 June with a new exhibition on India using its Autochrome collection.

  3. I thought the television series was amazing – I cancelled all outings and sat transfixed each Saturday afternoon [heaven help those who interrupted]. I would love to have a copy of the series as unfortunately I missed the first episode. Here’s hoping either a DVD is created or that SBS chooses to replay the series very soon.

  4. I just discovered the serie in France broadcasted by the french-german ARTE network. I have a question though the original BBC is in 5 episodes of more or less 1 hour each on the other hand the Arte has a serie of 9 programs of roughly 42 minutes each and also broadcasted a 1 hour bio of Alvert Khan.
    So the BBC makes 5 hours and ARTE 6 hours how that can be?

  5. It’s a confusing history, but as far as I know, the BBC made nine episodes originally, shown on BBC4: the first five were broadcast April 2007 under the title The Edwardians in Colour (subtitled The Wonderful World of Albert Kahn); the remaining four were shown as The Twenties in Colour in November 2007. In the same month the first series was shown on BBC2 as The Wonderful World of Albert Kahn, in half-hour episodes. In January 2008 BBC2 showed a follow-up three-part series The Great War in Colour: The Wonderful World of Albert Kahn. Which permutation might be shown on ARTE, I don’t know – perhaps a slightly edited version of the original nine?

    There is a growing catalogue of recent BBC programmes, at, which includes the three Albert Kahn series, but the information is confusing, even though original and repeat transmission dates are given.

  6. Hi everyone,

    A company called 2entertain released The Wonderful World of Albert Kahn on DVD, 7th September. The press release states that the DVD contains over 72,000 colour photographs. One hundred hours of film footage. Hundreds of letters, diaries and testimonies, describing extraordinary journeys through exotic lands. “This ten part documentary series looks at the incredible collection of early colour photographs from the Albert Kahn museum.”

    Hope this helps.

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