Brief History of Photography – 2

There were various processed invented to get a color photograph. some of those techniques with example are described below.

The first color photograph made by the ‘Three-color method’ suggested by James Clerk Maxwell in 1855, and is taken by Thomas Sutton in 1861. The subject is a coloured ribbon, usually described as a tartan ribbon.

The whole system of taking photographs was then being change with time and various processes were discovered to get the good quality photo, so as now, with time the digital photography techniques are also changing with time in race of capturing better photographs.

Some processed which were being used to generate first color photographs are explained below.

1. The Three-color process

The above photograph is of The Emir of Bukhara, Alim Khan, taken in 1911 by Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky, a Russian Chemist and Photographer. On the right side there is triple color-filtered black-and-white glass plate, shown as a positive on the left side. In each slide it can be observed that the first slide is of red filter, second is of green and third one is of blue, and can be compared with the final output as well. eg. the color of the cloth is blue which is darkest in the third slide(Blue slide) and lightest in the first slide(Red slide).

2. The Substractive Color method

An 1877 color photographic print on paper by Louis Ducos du Hauron, the foremost early French pioneer of color photography. The overlapping yellow, cyan and red as subtractive color elements are apparent.

In photography, the dye colors are normally cyan(absorbs red), magenta(absorbs green) and yellow(absorbs blue). When the three dye images are superimposed they form a complete color image.

Note: All the printing work done on principle of CMYK Color Model. (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow & K-Black). And all the digital (eg. phone screen, monitors, TV’s) work on RGB Color Model (Red, Green, Blue)

3. Additive Color Method

Mixing colored lights (usually red, green and blue) in various proportions is the additive method of color reproduction. LCD, LED, plasma and CRT (picture tube) color video displays all use this method. Any digital image on a display is the best example of this method. as with time there are digital photo frames also which look like the printed photos placed on a corner table.

New 7 Wonders of World(2000-07), Taj Mahal, India

The above image is the first color image taken of The Taj Mahal in 1914, which was later published in National Geography Magazine in 1921 issue.


As we came to know about that the techniques of generating photographs is changing with time, but the art of capturing and aesthetics and perspective will always remain dependent on an artist and his vision.

Looking forward for your queries and comments.


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