History with its flickering lamp stumbles along the trail of the past, trying to reconstruct its scenes, to revive its echoes, and kindle with pale gleams the passion of former days. ~Winston Churchill

18 June, 2013

Amateur Tinting

We've looked at hand-tinting before, in nineteenth century Japanese albumen prints as well as portraits of the Civil War. There's a lot of exquisite portrait tinting (and some pretty awful stuff too), but colouring of monochrome prints went even more popular than that. For the sixty or so years between the invention of snapshots and the rise of colour snapshots, loads of people went out, bought paints specifically designed for colouring prints, and added their own colour. These can range from garish and tacky to really very nice, depending on the person and their skill and care (I have to admit, I live the garish tacky ones just as much as the nice ones).

Unfortunately most institutions with online collections don't have a lot of snapshots, and/or don't upload the coloured ones much. At the moment I'm working at a photographic collection with heaps of snapshots and heaps of tacky coloured ones... but they aren't available for sharing. So, while this mix is wonderful, I've expanded the definition of "snapshot". Many of these are in fact coloured lantern slides (glass precursors to film slides) from the visual teaching collections at Oregon State University (though I don't know what they would have used most of them to illustrate), but they capture the aesthetic I'm looking for. Many thanks to the wonderful people at OSU, who share my tastes! (their collection on the Flickr Commons is pretty great all around, really).



Oregon State University

ca. 1910. Source



Oregon State University

Along Crater Lake. Source



Oregon State University

Garden, ca. 1930. Source




Oregon State University

Bonfire, ca. 1920. Source



University of Washington Libraries

A drive near Bellingham Bay, Washington State, 1926. Source



Oregon State University

A beach in/near Los Angeles, ca. 1920 maybe? Source



Oregon State University

An outdoor restaurant in Copenhagen, ca. 1915. Source



Oregon State University

ca. 1930. Source



Oregon State University

Pumpkins in the Rogue River Valley. Source



State Library and Archives Florida

People on a lakeshore, 1940s. Source



Oregon State University

New York City, ca. 1915. Source



DC Public Library Commons

Pauline, the pet cow of President William Taft, grazing on the lawn of the White House. 1909-13. Source



Oregon State University

Orchard near Santa Clara, California. Source



Oregon State University

Sunset on Garfield Peak, Crater Lake, Oregon. Source



Deseronto Archives

A family and car, 1920s. Source



Oregon State University

"Kelly's plane drops the ball,", onto what looks like a football field. ca. 1920. Source



Oregon State University

A young man and woman on a farm in Denmark, ca. 1915. Source



Oregon State University

A margarine plant in Denmark, ca. 1915. Source



Oregon State University

A woman preparing to kiss the Blarney Stone, ca. 1920. Source



Oregon State University

A young couple, ca. 1915. Source



Oregon State University

The Roosevelt (ie, Hoover) Dam. Source



Brooklyn Museum

Sunset on the Nile. Source

4 comments:

Bronwyn Smyth said...

I love how the people in the water are all blue! Oh hand colouring.

Anna said...

I know, it's great, isn't it? :)

Anonymous said...

There was color photography long before Kodachrome. Her's a link of color photography's history: http://www.luminous-lint.com/IaW/public/5/1/2/1/0/20/T/

Anna said...

Absolutely colour photography way predates Kodachrome-- I've actually been fortunate enough to see one of the earliest surviving examples, c. 1870! Nor was Kodachrome the first commercially available process-- the autochrome was in widespread use from 1907 to 1932, and there's quite a few examples in this blog. However the autochrome is a glass plate, which is cumbersome, and requires a long exposure time, unsuitable for snapshots. Kodachrome was the first colour film available for snapshots, quickly followed by Agfacolour. Thanks for noting it, though!

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