The most “unnatural” colors are black and white. But this is what most photography before the 20th century could provide. Daguerreotypes were silver and black. The albumen photographs that were a standard form of photograph in the 19th century had various tones from tan to rich purple. The cyanotype, invented before the advent of photography, created images of blue and white.
From the beginning some photographers would apply coloring to the surface of the plate or print. Around the turn of the century a process of exposing a specially prepared plate was developed with colored grains of potato starch that light had to pass through. These colors combined to make up an image that approached the natural colors of the word but with a lovely granular pattern.
Several processes were developed to superimpose three primary colored layers to produce a rich natural color. This included the tri-color carbon process and the dye transfer process. Later in the century film would have emulsions that could record color directly. This was the familiar process of color film until digital took over.
This exhibition offers a rich sampling of photographs using these processes.
Material can be viewed at our premises in Yonkers NY by appointment. We are close to the Metro North Yonkers station on the Hudson Line, ½ hour from Grand Central Station.