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Glorious Colour
August 30, 2008 2:50 PM   Subscribe

Between 1908 and 1931, French philanthropist Albert Kahn funded The Archive of the Planet. He sent out still photographers and motion picture cameramen who returned with 72,000 Autochrome colour plates, 4,000 steroscopic views, and 600,000 feet of film. BBC4's startling series allows us all to see Edwardians In Colour.
posted by chuckdarwin (25 comments total) 50 users marked this as a favorite

 
These are fantastic. Especially the crisp definition and depth of field on most of them.
posted by ...possums at 3:12 PM on August 30, 2008


I watched the show the other night and was just so startled to see people in Japan and China in traditional dress, and a short film of the huge wall that used to surround Beijing.

Khan is a hero.
posted by chuckdarwin at 3:17 PM on August 30, 2008


Anyone know anything about that "mongolian prisoner in a box" thing?

Great stuff!
posted by Dumsnill at 3:19 PM on August 30, 2008


No, but feel free to buy this book for me.
posted by chuckdarwin at 3:23 PM on August 30, 2008


Oh yes. Brilliant. Thank you.
posted by jokeefe at 3:29 PM on August 30, 2008


Oh yes. Brilliant. Thank you.
posted by jokeefe at 3:29 PM on August 30, 2008


Whoops. Sorry. On the other hand, this post deserved at least two "brilliants", I think.
posted by jokeefe at 3:30 PM on August 30, 2008


Awesome.

From this one, at 1:35 - The Balkans: a fruit salad of different nationalities.
posted by XMLicious at 3:36 PM on August 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


This one is pretty good as well.
posted by chuckdarwin at 3:42 PM on August 30, 2008


Outstanding.
posted by darkstar at 3:49 PM on August 30, 2008


These are fantastic. I love the photography especially. While technology changes, the things that make photographs great and timeless remain the same.

Definitely worth 2 brilliants. Thanks for posting.
posted by Eekacat at 3:53 PM on August 30, 2008


According to the flickr page for the "mongolian prisoner in a box" photo:
"Ulan Bator, 1913

As a nomadic culture, the Mongolians of the steppes needed to find ways of punishing those who transgressed their laws without compromising their mobility. This woman is thought to have committed adultery."
posted by aninom at 3:56 PM on August 30, 2008


This woman is thought to have committed adultery

Harsh.
posted by chuckdarwin at 4:00 PM on August 30, 2008


The photography is amazing. It's quite jarring to see images that look so modern, when we're so accustomed to the past existing as kind of a grainy, juddery black and white.
There's a clear and obvious error in the Telegraph link though - that isn't the river Cherwell in Oxford; it's the Thames, just south of Folly Bridge, with Christchurch meadow opposite.
posted by Flashman at 4:24 PM on August 30, 2008


Wow, fantastic. Great post, chuckd.

Some of those "Edwardians" were colorful indeed!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:10 PM on August 30, 2008


"One of the most disturbing images is this poor woman in a box. It was quite a common punishment at the time in Mongolia. People would be put into a box and left. They would be dependent on others to be fed. You can see that she can't quite the bowl that's placed nearby. She's seeming to be desperately trying to fiddle with the locks, but clearly there's no chance of her being able to get out. Now Pathe has remarked that this is a punishment for a woman who had committed adultery, but that seems rather peculiar. The Mongols weren't particularly prudish, so I think it's more likely she was in the box for something else."

(I love sky+)
posted by chuckdarwin at 5:54 PM on August 30, 2008


Criss Angel she ain't. But the box pic is awesome.
posted by Xoebe at 5:56 PM on August 30, 2008


Sorry, that should be Passet.
posted by chuckdarwin at 6:12 PM on August 30, 2008


Those 400 pixel pictures on the Telegraph article aren't very compelling, the AlbertKhan.com pics are no better, and with YouTube we get 320 pixels. Isn't there a better gallery of this work somewhere? I feel like my eyes are going bad trying to squint at these pics.
posted by crapmatic at 7:44 PM on August 30, 2008


Awesome post! Thanks!
posted by grapefruitmoon at 7:55 PM on August 30, 2008


The photography is amazing. It's quite jarring to see images that look so modern, when we're so accustomed to the past existing as kind of a grainy, juddery black and white.

I had to keeping checking the dates because it somehow seemed wrong for there to be color (as opposed to colored) pictures of that vintage. Nice post.
posted by MikeMc at 8:58 PM on August 30, 2008


here is the link to the woman in the box, for anyone else like me who wants to see what everyone is talking about without clicking around forever...
posted by drjimmy11 at 9:14 PM on August 30, 2008


Kahn, not Khan

btw the FPP rocks so thank you!!
posted by infini at 9:55 PM on August 30, 2008


Best FPP of the month.

I wish there was access to the entire archive, though...
posted by vertigo25 at 12:06 PM on August 31, 2008


Me, too vertigo25.

Thanks, infini: fixed.

Thanks as well to j or v or both.
posted by chuckdarwin at 12:42 AM on September 1, 2008


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