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Color Photography before 1915

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“World in Color – Color Photography before 1915” – More than hundred years ago the French philanthropist Albert Kahn sent twenty photographers to Europe, Asia, Africa and America to document people, landscapes and monuments using the latest techniques of colour photography. In an era when the world’s nations were gearing up to wage the Great War, Kahn, a French banker, launched this major project as a contribution to world peace.

The travelling photographers were instructed to capture local scenes, relaxed everyday situations, people in their typical clothing and uniforms, street views and famous monuments on film. Kahn expected them to produce neither reportage nor art photography nor ethnological field research. Rather, he was interested in the traditional world, local customs and peaceful coexistence of the twentieth century. 

The long-forgotten 72,000 glass plates are today celebrated as milestones in the history of documentary photography and understanding between peoples. For the first time in Switzerland, Museum Rietberg is showing a selection of this treasury of images, which are fascinating both from an ethnographical point of view and as documents of photographic history. The images permit us a gloriously colourful view of a bygone world that we have hitherto only known in black and white.
 
For more information please visit Museum Rietberg

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