U of S | Mailing List Archive | alt-photo-process-l | the color of autochromes

the color of autochromes

  • To: alt-photo-process-l@usask.ca
  • Subject: the color of autochromes
  • From: "Christina Z. Anderson" <zphoto@montana.net>
  • Date: Mon, 04 Aug 2008 01:38:18 -0500
  • Comments: "alt-photo-process mailing list"
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  • List-id: alt-photo-process mailing list <alt-photo-process-l@sask.usask.ca>
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Dear All,
While I was in Minneapolis this week, I had some time to waste so I spent it in a delightful used bookstore down on Nicollet Ave. They had an incredible photo book section, and I bought a book by John Wood called The Photographic Arts. It's not that old, 1997, and I see a bunch of them on abebooks.com, but anyway, it has some great essays on the autochrome, the cyanotype, symbolism, pictorialism and Stieglitz, etc. A lot of theoretical stuff but a lot of images to look at, too. He's got some controversial stuff to say about Stieglitz, for sure...

What I really appreciated from this book was the description of the allure of the autochrome, because I think it applies to gum, too. "...the primary reason that people are so drawn to the autochrome's color is its idyllic light, a lying light which gives the world a softness, a near shimmering, it has never known,"and that we respond to autochromes because they "are the color of dreams...and are unlike the real world which was always harsher than they would suggest it was."

I didn't use some of the parentheses he did because he was actually quoting himself in this passage, but the idea is there to chew on, anyway.

I really respond to his essays and wonder if he is on the list, still around, anyone know him, etc.? He taught at McNeese State University at this time, and has written a number of books on old processes.

I also got an old book by Wm Mortensen on abrasion tone! Alas, it wasn't his $12,000 book on Pictorial Photography.