Christina In Red: 1913 Color Photos Show That People Lived In Color Even 100 Years Ago
1913, one year before the Great War, wasn’t the best time for colored photography. But Mervyn O’Gorman still managed to take wonderful colored pictures of his daughter Christina. O’Gorman was using autochrome plates, which used dyed potato starch on glass plates to filter the colors. Also called Autochrome Lumière, it was patented in 1903 and marketed in 1907, and remained the principal color photography process until mid-1930s.
Christina wears a red coat and a red swimsuit in the photos, and the color is quite suitable for the autochrome process. In addition to vibrant colors, the out of focus background and lack of any particularly dating features make the photos look modern. The comparatively long exposure time (autochrome necessitated the use of tripod and was useless for picturing moving objects) makes the sea somewhat glassy, and the large aperture setting and narrow depth of field make the background blurry.
Mervyn O’Gorman was a British electrical and aircraft engineer. He was the superintendent of Royal Aircraft Factory from 1909 to 1915. After the war, he became interested in motor transportation and played an important role in publication of the Highway Code. He died in 1958, having survived his wife by 27 years. As for Christina, no records remain of her life.
Aside from these colorful pictures from 1913.