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Photography from 102 Years Ago

The photos might seem to be even around 50 years old. In fact these images are 100 years old, and to be correct, they were shot in 1913 making them
02 Aug 2015 10:05
Photography from 102 Years Ago

The photos might seem to be even around 50 years old. In fact these images are 100 years old, and to be correct, they were shot in 1913 making them 102 years old this year. What is fascinating to me is the wonderful rich colours and the incredibly photogenic and angelic looking models in the photos.

 

When you look at these images, you automatically assume that you are looking at photos maybe 20 or 30 years old. The photos might seem to be even around 50 years old.

In fact these images are 100 years old, and to be correct, they were shot in 1913 making them 102 years old this year. What is fascinating to me is the wonderful rich colours and the incredibly photogenic and angelic looking models in the photos.

These photos were taken in 1913 by Mervyn Joseph Pius O’Gorman during the discovery of early colour technology. Lucky a few of the earliest coloured photos were salvaged and preserved for all of us to appreciate.

During this era, black and white photography was the norm, but technological advances were pushing the boundaries as people where looking to discover true colour imagery where you could live and breathe life into still photography.

A pair of French brothers named Auguste and Louis Lumiere were at the cutting edge of turning this myth into reality and turning black and white photography finally into colour photography.

After many unsuccessful attempts to do this, finally in the early 1900s the Lumiere brothers announced that they had discovered a practical and commercial way to make colour images.

Here is a rare collection of one of the very first colour photographs in the world taken by photography enthusiast Mr O’Gorman during the British Summer, probably July/August of 1913.

 

The first image we look at is called simply “On The Beach”. (No 1).

The young woman in the photograph is the photographer’s daughter or niece called Christina O’Gorman, she is seen sitting on a seashore in the coastal town of Dorset in the United Kingdom. Due to long exposure of time, the image of the sea has become blurred as well as giving it a misty feel.

What is so interesting is the fact that even after 100 years plus of advances in photography, this image is as good, if not better than most seen today.

The subject woman is superbly placed to enhance the photo, especially with her red bathing costume which was the height of fashion in 1913.

 

The second image we look at is called “Picnic On The Beach”  (No 2).

This image captured Mr O’Gorman’s family at the seaside having a picnic.

What is different here to maybe a picnic nowadays would certainly be the dressing because the women are dressed in the fashion of the 1900s and also the tea set is not plastic or paper cups and plates, but ceramic crockery.

We believe sitting in the middle is O’Gorman’s wife, Florence Rasch and next to her either side to the left is Christina and her younger sister in blue to the right. Also scattered on the floor is a black box which is in fact a camera case which housed all the equipment needed to take these wonderful photos.

 

The third image is called “Christina In The Garden” (No 3).

This image is certainly my favourite because it depicts the wonderful and lush countryside which boasts an array of colour and fauna.

What is also interesting is the fact that Christina seems so relaxed and one with nature.

Maybe this was from a time when we did not have emails, twitter, mobile phones and having to take selfies every five minutes for posting. We have certainly come a long way in over 102 years and yet judging from these pictures, there seems to be a calmness, tranquility and peacefulness that we may be missing in today’s society.

 The writer is a Fiji Sun columnist.

Feedback: ajayamrit@hotmail.com

 

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