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Three Belgian Autochromists
December 26, 2008 1:43 PM   Subscribe

The beautiful vintage photos of three Belgian friends - a doctor, a painter, and accountant - who shared their experiments in color photography from 1907 to 1920. (via The Wonderland of Mia Mäkilä)

More links to sites on autochromes

Prior related mefi posts:
chuckdarwin post on Albert Kahn and Edwardians in Colour

cardamine post on Surreal Life - Bradford Museum Autochrome exhibition

ShawnString post on WW1 in color
posted by madamjujujive (17 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite

 
walloons?
posted by MNDZ at 1:55 PM on December 26, 2008


looks like 2 of them were from Antwerp, one of which was named: "Alfonse Van Besten". I would guess Flemish. Can't they just be Belgian though?

It is lovely work.
posted by el io at 2:04 PM on December 26, 2008


Ohh I love these madamjujujive! Charming, serene, contemplative. And somewhat eerie, a tender nostalgia.
posted by nickyskye at 2:16 PM on December 26, 2008


I had never heard of autochrome photography before. Interesting stuff!
posted by aubilenon at 2:17 PM on December 26, 2008


I'm not concerned about thier politics or ethnicity or language, i just like that word. cool old old photos.
posted by MNDZ at 2:17 PM on December 26, 2008


I am not a number, I'm a conservatively dressed matriarch!
posted by Artw at 2:30 PM on December 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


These are wondeful and charming and slightly spooky. Thank you!
posted by Artw at 2:34 PM on December 26, 2008


Worth mentioning are these color photos of pre-communist Russia.

It's strange how much more real it all seems in color. What a different place the world used to be.
posted by dunkadunc at 3:09 PM on December 26, 2008


I love this shot; very Tim Burton-esque. I keep expecting Johnny Depp to step out onto that balcony.
posted by bwg at 4:02 PM on December 26, 2008


bwg, I was looking at that shot and was thinking, "wow, those old houses sure are cool, there's no chance they're still around"...

And then I found this picture on Google Maps.
posted by dunkadunc at 4:13 PM on December 26, 2008 [5 favorites]


A photography site with a ridiculously unrewarding navigational scheme? Unpossible!

(great pix tho. i'm just glad it's not done in Flash)
posted by slater at 4:25 PM on December 26, 2008


Stage coaches in Gent.
posted by jouke at 8:47 PM on December 26, 2008


dunkadunc, I had the very same reaction and found the very same photo. The scene does look much more romantic in the original shot.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 9:14 PM on December 26, 2008


I've sent the link to my Belgian father-in-law. One of the photographs bares an amazing familial resemblance to him. I would absolutely love it if one of the shots turned out to be his mother, who is still living.
posted by Goofyy at 10:43 PM on December 26, 2008


Thanks dunkadunc.

You can see how the lack of good composition in the modern shot really takes away from the structures. The vertical framing doesn't suit the scene and the red building on the left is distracting. The sky is clipped (digital camera) and the quality of light is harsher.

The funny thing is if I'd shot this same scene I'd probably give the image an "aged" look in Photoshop that might not be altogether different from the original.

The buildings almost seem to cry out for it.
posted by bwg at 1:11 AM on December 27, 2008


This modern shot is a lot closer (and bigger) to the 1910 shot. Spot the new house in the back.
posted by Harry at 8:31 AM on December 27, 2008


Wish they had identified all the geographical shots. Anyone have a clue about this? (Nice to know that this place survived the wars. See here and here)
posted by IndigoJones at 8:54 AM on December 28, 2008


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