August 23, 2010

Albert Kahn The Visionary



Albert Kahn (1860-1940) was a millionaire Parisian banker and philanthropist who in 1909 launched a monumentally ambitious project:
To produce a colour photographic record of the world in the early 20th century just on the brink of being lost forever. 
He strongly believed that showing the diversity of the world and its inhabitants would promote cross-cultural understanding and peace.
He called it "The Archives of the Planet". Over 72,000 colour photographs. More than 180,000 metres of
films. Hundreds of letters, testimonies and diaries.
An internationalist and pacifist, Albert Kahn believed that he could use the new autochrome- the world's first portable, true-colour photographic process. The autochrome was invented in 1907 by the Lumiere Brothers- Pioneers of Cinema and Colour Photography.

Based on potato starch, it enabled the first user-friendly colour photography. Kahn was one of the first people to exploit the potential of colour photography.

He was definitely a man capable of amazing grace.

A colour photo of a river in Ireland.

Kahn's team of photographers documented many world cultures,
including Ireland's Celtic villages, the late days of the
Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires, and the birth of new
states in Europe and the Middle East.                          
Hand painted portrait photo. I've always been fascinated by vintage cameras and the photographs they produce...                                                                                                    

(Images via NET TV Archives)

39 comments:

athina said...

Nice photos!The thoughts of Albert Kahn were innovative!

Bossy Betty said...

What a project he took on! Love the story of photography. Thanks!

Steven Anthony said...

what a wonderful project....He seems to have been an amazing man,

Steven Anthony
Man Dish~Metro Style

Teuvo Vehkalahti said...

Very interesting blog. Very nice photos, I like very much your work.
I clollet old cameras to.
All looking fotoblog Teuvo images

www.ttvehkalahti.blogspot.com
and yours comments thanks

Teuvo
Finland

Susan Deborah said...

Albert Kahn seemed to have had a lovely romance with cultures and people. What a wonderful mission to undertake and the name "The Archives of the Planet" seems so grandiose and intriguing. Such passionate people are lacking in today's world. In his time, there was a variety seen but today almost all the cities look so alike and homogenised. I liked his vision and intention.

Betty, this is the first time I am hearing this name. I must thank you for posting this today. And the pictures, they provide a peep into many cultures. Curious to know whether there are pictures of India as well :)

Have a good week and nice to see you in the rounds again!

Joy always,
Susan

....Petty Witter said...

A great man, some might say a genius, I think he was very inspiring in his outlook.

Dan Gliubizzi said...

Very Interesting! Thanks

Joe Cap said...

wow, amazing. Just a great tidbit there, I didn't even know they HAD color film that long ago.

Don said...

I read a quote recently about the advantage of money... it can give you the power to do more good. Few use it that way... but these photos appear to be such an undertaking.

Thanks for sharing.

Journaling Woman said...

Loved this! The information is so interesting and I am melting over the old photos.

i too love old photos and cameras. i have a few (vintage cameras) in my attic where the big spider lives. :(

Teresa

flying eagle woman said...

we're such kindreds you and i...i too have a love of old photographs, and i too also love old cameras! this post was warm and made me curious about your world...
happy to "visit" with you again finally!!!
Shawna

Karen said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog Pocket Full of Pink! I appreciate your comments. Your pictures are beautiful! What a lovely blog! Have a wonderful day!

Cloudia said...

LOVE this post, Betty.

He was the first blogger!




Aloha from Waikiki :)

Comfort Spiral

Pat Tillett said...

An amazing taking on an amazing project. It couldn't have been an easy thing to do in those days.

great post!

imac said...

Wonderful post Betty, love the idea, but sadly it wont stop the fighting.

septembermom said...

I learned a lot from this post. So very interesting. He really had a creative vision. Lucky for all of us who can appreciate his work. Thanks!

Kel said...

What an amazing project! Those pics actually reminded me of when I lived in Europe.

Self Sagacity said...

Wonderful post! I love when I land and learn. Also Thanks for your support. I wi`ll follow you'...smiles.

blueviolet said...

What a lofty goal he had!

Krista said...

Fascinating and beautiful photos!

Kelly said...

What a fascinating and informative entry!! Thanks for posting this!

Michael Rivers said...

Incredible photos!! Thanks for sharing these. Hope you have a great week!

Ms. Anthropy said...

I agree with Don, being able to do this financially, was a big help. Made it much easier to develop his passion.

SquirrelQueen said...

What an incredible undertaking, Kahn was an amazing man. The Lumiere Brothers made it possible and Kahn made it happen.

Dave King said...

Shame it didn't work out for him quite as he planned, but some of these images are sensational. It deserved more success.

Avijeet Das said...

Informative,simple and elegant,thats how I would describe your writing.

The photos are terrific.

What a wonderful man, Albert Kahn was.

Thanks for a delightful article!

Ted said...

Very interesting post. What amazing man Kahn was!
Nice pictures!

Florida Girl Meets the Midwest said...

This IS an amazing story. I would love to see more of his photographs.

Stopping by from SITS.

Lynette said...

Wow...what an amazing visionary.

Pat said...

He truly was a visionary!

ritsa said...

How amazing visionary he was!
hugs

David L Macaulay said...

Love these retro pics - oh and thanks for your comments on my blog, Betty. Do come to a wine sampling if you are in the area. David

KrippledWarrior said...

Betty,
Simply amazing.
You and this info. Thank you for sharing it.
Kurt

The Crazy Baby Mama said...

beautiful. really beautiful. and poignant, too.

ρομπερτ said...

Thank you for introducing me a person I did not know before. Surely a great artist. Please have a good Wednesday.

cupcakes.gr said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
alexliz said...

Betty, this was a very interesting post. Thanks for the brief info on Kahn. Wonderful photos; the 19th./20th. is truly something!

Alex (not Liz) from the Cupcakes shop of Nafplio!

jordan said...

What a visionary and a project he took on! Thanks for this amazing post!!!

JM said...

I surely loved the video! Great post and great tribute!