Autochromes Lumière

Jacques Lartigue, Curious Amateur

The Wonder of Discovery
Jacques Lartigue was at the tender age of seven when his father, an engineer, banker and amateur photographer, gave him his first camera in 1902. A curious and sensitive child, he captured everything around him and began to create the great album of his life. He captured all the moments of his youth, catching the fleeting movements of bodies and objects in motion with a singular talent, suspending them in time through photography. At the age of seventeen he delightfully discovered the procedures for colour photography: first, those established by Lippmann, and then those marketed by the Lumière brothers. These inventions filled him with wonder, which seemed to open up so many new perspectives. That same year, he took note of his impressions in his journal:

"January 28, 1911
Like every Saturday, I went to the Sorbonne; Science class with Mr. Aubert... he is the assistant of Mr. Lippmann, the famous inventor of colour photography. Mr. Aubert showed me a colour photograph! I was totally dazed, thinking about my own photos. If I could take photographs like that!!? But it isn't possible at all. To take photos like that, not only would it be necessary to be a great scientist, but also to work for many days and to pose for many minutes."

"January 30, 1911
I spoke with a vendor of colour photographs, which I would like to take. He explained to me that with the two lenses of my 6x13cm camera, which open to F:4.5 (which is rare) one could almost take a snapshot with the "Autochrome" plates (it has always been my dream!), would it work at 1/10th of a second? But 1/10th of a second, this wouldn't be enough for my fashion photos or for automobiles in the street?"

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