Paris 100 Years Ago in Color

The exposure must have been very long on this one, noting the ghosts and movements of all the people. It would have been necessary due to the low light indoors.

No “ghost” people. Lots of light. It took a lot of skill to determine just how long to expose the shot to avoid over or under saturating the shot.

I like how the guy’s mustache is almost as large as his broom. =)

Note how the hotel largely advertises the fact that it has electricity.


What stellar photography! The symmetry and composition of each shot is top notch. I would guess each plate is hand-tinted, but the chemical burn and visible graininess of the picture just above and on others might indicate a different technique.I don’t know that much about early color photography, beyond that the first experiments as early as the 1850’s were not very successful, as exposure to light immediately faded color. In the 1890’s, a guy by the name of Maxwell, (I don’t remember his first name…Earnest?) came across a way to capture color through the camera itself and not through any hand coloring or chemical means. He called it his tri-color theory, and was based off of his research on the primary colors of light, their wavelengths (this completely blew open the world of science in more than one field) and how they interact with the different cells at the back of the eye (also never before researched.) This theory, now slightly merged with one other, serves as the foundation to how we see color. Brilliant man. He made many other breakthroughs in the science and photography world. It would make an interesting research paper.

The photographer(s?) is unknown, but if you’d like to see more photos, the link, as always, is below.

Update: I just found the photographer by complete accident! Jules Gervais-Courtellemont (1863-1931). He was most famous for his color photographs of WWI, which you can read about here.



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