Autochromes Lumière

Photographic Representation in Natural History

Scientific Progress in Anatomical Exploration
If the arrival of colour photography represented a distinct aesthetic advantage, it also provided a means for real scientific progress. The anatomical investigations conducted, probably around 1916, on the guinea pigs at the Laboratoire d'Anatomie comparée are a perfect example of this. These Autochromes, whose authors remain unidentified, facilitate observation and histological study thanks to the use of colourants and microscopes.

The Autochromes of Henri Becquerel
The Becquerel family, which formed the great dynasty of professors at the museum, obviously had a strong connection to photography. On February 7, 1848, Edmond Becquerel (1820-1891) succeeded in registering the solar spectrum on a silver plate and would lay many of the first milestones of colour photography. His son, Henri Becquerel (1852-1908), discovered radioactivity in March 1896, while attempting to photographically capture fluorescence emitted by silver salts. His archives contain a collection of stereoscopic Autochromes of his family and friends, views of Paris, and a rare image of his laboratory assistants.

The Cabinet of Mineral Curiosities
To conclude this selection, we include some compositions of an anonymous autochromiste presenting an arrangement of curiosities: still life images of some beautiful pieces from the gallery of mineralogy's mineral collection.