Offering unprecedented access to the V&A’s collection of autochromes—one of the greatest collections of early color photography in the world—Color Mania presents the pioneering photographic process in its full, vibrant, and painterly beauty. Fragile and light sensitive, autochromes cannot be displayed in public, and so this volume provides a rare and breathtaking opportunity to view them true to size.
Invented by the Lumiere brothers, who were also pioneers of cinema, the autochrome was the first widely available color photography process and remained popular for two decades. Upon its commercial release in 1907, it was eagerly embraced by Pictorialist photographers and advocated by its leading member Alfred Stieglitz, who predicted “soon the world will be color-mad.”
Newly photographed specially for this book, the V&A’s abundant collection of autochromes is brought to the public for the very first time. Organized thematically and with sections focusing on the photographers who engaged with the process, Color Mania is built upon the latest scholarship and research by curator Catlin Langford and includes insights into how these extraordinary photographs are being preserved for future generations. An opportunity to travel in time and understand a tour de force in photographic technology, Color Mania will delight anyone who desires to experience the past in color.
Catlin Langford is a curator and researcher of photographs. She was the inaugural Curatorial Fellow in Photography, supported by The Bern Schwartz Family Foundation at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.