Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The World in Color in the 1950s

Before Kodachrome film was marketed in 1935, color photography had been achieved using additive methods and materials such as Autochrome and Dufaycolor, which were the first practical color processes.

The first Kodak product called Kodachrome was invented by John Capstaff, which had three layers of emulsion coated on a single base, each layer recording one of the three additive primaries, red, green, and blue. In keeping with Kodak's old "you press the button, we do the rest" slogan, the film was simply loaded into the camera, exposed in the ordinary way, then mailed to Kodak for processing. The complicated part, if the complexities of manufacturing the film are ignored, was the processing, which involved the controlled penetration of chemicals into the three layers of emulsion. Only a simplified description of the process is appropriate in a short history: as each layer was developed into a black-and-white silver image, a "dye coupler" added during that stage of development caused a cyan, magenta or yellow dye image to be created along with it. The silver images were chemically removed, leaving only the three layers of dye images in the finished film.

Here, below is a collection of stunning color photographs of everyday life in the Fifties by using Kodakchrome film, courtesy Magnum Photos.

ENGLAND. London. 1953. (© Inge Morath © The Inge Morath Foundation/M)

SPAIN. Pamplona. 1954. (© Inge Morath © The Inge Morath Foundation/M)

CUBA. Havana. 1959. Bikini model on rooftop. (© Burt Glinn/Magnum Photos)

Queen's Garden Party at Buckingham Palace. 1957. (© Burt Glinn/Magnum Photos)

FRANCE. Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur region. Town of Marseille. 1959. (© Rene Burri/Magnum Photos)

KENYA. 1958. (© George Rodger/Magnum Photos)

FRANCE. Provence. 1955. (© Elliott Erwitt/Magnum Photos)

USA. New York City. 1953. (© Werner Bischof/Magnum Photos)

ENGLAND. London. 1954. Street corner at World's End. (© Inge Morath © The Inge Morath Foundation/M)

MEXICO. Teotihuacan. Dancers. 1959. (© Inge Morath © The Inge Morath Foundation/M)

USA. 1955. Family by antique car. (© Elliott Erwitt/Magnum Photos)

USA. New York. 1958. St. Lawrence Seaway. (© Erich Hartmann/Magnum Photos)

SPAIN. 1955. Romeria del Rocio, Andalucia. (© Inge Morath © The Inge Morath Foundation/M)

USA. Providence, RI. 1955. (© Burt Glinn/Magnum Photos)

ITALY. Rome. Street market. 1952. (© David Seymour/Magnum Photos)

USA. 1953. Car race. (© Wayne Miller/Magnum Photos)

MEXICO. 1954. (© Werner Bischof/Magnum Photos)

SPAIN. Andalucia. 1955. (© Inge Morath © The Inge Morath Foundation/M)

(Photos courtesy Magnum Photos, via vintag.es)

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