Photos Taken 100 Years Ago Capture Rare Look at Paris in Color
Over 100 years ago, a French banker named Albert Kahn undertook a massive photography project that became known as The Archives of the Planet. Sending photographers to every continent, Kahn aimed to collect colour snapshots from all corners of the Earth using a brand new technology known as the Autochrome Lumiere. Over 72,000 colour images were taken over the course of the project, but the following series focuses on the vibrant and iconic daily life of Paris, from nearly a century in the past.
Kahn commissioned four photographers to collect images set specifically in cosmopolitan Paris: Leon Gimpel, Stephane Passet, Georges Chevalier, and Auguste Leon. They utilized pioneering technology that employed colour filters made from microscopic grains of dyed potato starch. The artists began documenting the city in 1914, just days before the outbreak of World War I. The images collected portray the everyday struggle of real life, juxtaposed with a joie de vivre characteristic of Parisians, in a city on the brink of devastation brought on by a war that would alter the world.
This collection showcases an amazing, colourful time period, with historical scenes that are as familiar as they are foreign, not to mention a nostalgic depiction of humanity.