Her name is Christina...

Colstan

Accidental Moderator
Staff Member
Vaccinated
Posts
543
Reaction score
715
I'd like to introduce you to someone. Someone who took a few brief moments out of her day so that we could spend time with her right now.

I'd like you to meet Christina.

early-color-photography-1913-christina-red-marvyn-ogorman-5.jpg


This picture was taken at the White Cliffs of Dover, in England.

early-color-photography-1913-christina-red-marvyn-ogorman-3.jpg


That's Christina posing on the beach.

early-color-photography-1913-christina-red-marvyn-ogorman-7.jpg


And next to a boat. She has strikingly blonde hair.

early-color-photography-1913-christina-red-marvyn-ogorman-8.jpg


Here she is walking on the beach at Dover. I have walked on that same beach, myself, back when I lived in England.

early-color-photography-1913-christina-red-marvyn-ogorman-2.jpg


Here she is with her younger sister and mother. Unlike them, I did not have a picnic.

early-color-photography-1913-christina-red-marvyn-ogorman-6.jpg


Christina at a local garden.

early-color-photography-1913-christina-red-marvyn-ogorman-4.jpg


She found...a shrubbery!

early-color-photography-1913-christina-red-marvyn-ogorman-1.jpg


Another garden shot.

Why would I show you, my photography friends, these photographs? Me, who is very much not a photographer?

For that, we need some background on Christina. She's an ordinary English girl, she's not a model of any sort, at least as far as I know. These pictures were taken by a man named Mervyn O'Gorman. For some time, it was thought that Christina is his daughter, but in fact she is the daughter of a friend. I assume Mr. O'Gorman must have had a close relationship with her family, considering the number of snaps that she modeled for.

These are the only known photographs of Christina, that I am aware of. I don't know much else about her personal life. What I do know is that Christina did not have a short life, she did not die young. She passed away at the age of 84, having never married nor did she have any children.

You see, these photographs were taken in 1913. They are not colorized, they are entirely authentic, and could easily pass for a much more modern image. Christina was born in Harrow, on March 8th of 1897, yet here she remains, captured forever in time, all in living color.

They certainly look better than many photographs from the 80s and much of the 90s. I recall once hearing a photographer remarking that the reason that older photographs often look better than modern ones is that they had better lenses, back in the day, because it was a rare occurrence to have a photograph taken. They put effort into their pictures, cared about them, cherished them. Many folks only had their picture taken once in a lifetime.

The technical process used to create these color photographs is called autochrome. This involves taking a mosaic of potato starch which has been microscopically treated with three different layers, namely red, green, and blue additives, and layering that onto the plates used inside the camera. Red-Green-Blue (RGB) is the same spectroscopy that we use today.

Autochrome was extraordinarily expensive and complex. So, only those who were wealthy and technically-minded would have access to it. Mervyn O'Gorman was one such individual, and hence we have a visual record of Christina.

When our brains process photographs, black and white tends to subtract a sense of reality from them. When we witness something in full color, we understand that these were living, breathing people, with the same hopes, dreams, desires, and failings that we all have. Time changes, but people don't.

I don't know how much of this you are already aware of, being photographers, but when I came across it, I decided to share it. I'm sure most of you are aware of daguerreotype photography, but autochrome is new to me. Nor did I know that color photography of this quality was available in the early 1900s.

If you're already familiar with this, then sorry about the repetition. If not, I hope you enjoyed spending time with me and Christina.
 

Eric

Mama's lil stinker
Vaccinated
Top Poster Of Month
Posts
9,631
Reaction score
18,620
Location
California
Instagram
Main Camera
Sony
I'd like to introduce you to someone. Someone who took a few brief moments out of her day so that we could spend time with her right now.

I'd like you to meet Christina.

View attachment 21982

This picture was taken at the White Cliffs of Dover, in England.

View attachment 21983

That's Christina posing on the beach.

View attachment 21984

And next to a boat. She has strikingly blonde hair.

View attachment 21985

Here she is walking on the beach at Dover. I have walked on that same beach, myself, back when I lived in England.

View attachment 21986

Here she is with her younger sister and mother. Unlike them, I did not have a picnic.

View attachment 21987

Christina at a local garden.

View attachment 21988

She found...a shrubbery!

View attachment 21989

Another garden shot.

Why would I show you, my photography friends, these photographs? Me, who is very much not a photographer?

For that, we need some background on Christina. She's an ordinary English girl, she's not a model of any sort, at least as far as I know. These pictures were taken by a man named Mervyn O'Gorman. For some time, it was thought that Christina is his daughter, but in fact she is the daughter of a friend. I assume Mr. O'Gorman must have had a close relationship with her family, considering the number of snaps that she modeled for.

These are the only known photographs of Christina, that I am aware of. I don't know much else about her personal life. What I do know is that Christina did not have a short life, she did not die young. She passed away at the age of 84, having never married nor did she have any children.

You see, these photographs were taken in 1913. They are not colorized, they are entirely authentic, and could easily pass for a much more modern image. Christina was born in Harrow, on March 8th of 1897, yet here she remains, captured forever in time, all in living color.

They certainly look better than many photographs from the 80s and much of the 90s. I recall once hearing a photographer remarking that the reason that older photographs often look better than modern ones is that they had better lenses, back in the day, because it was a rare occurrence to have a photograph taken. They put effort into their pictures, cared about them, cherished them. Many folks only had their picture taken once in a lifetime.

The technical process used to create these color photographs is called autochrome. This involves taking a mosaic of potato starch which has been microscopically treated with three different layers, namely red, green, and blue additives, and layering that onto the plates used inside the camera. Red-Green-Blue (RGB) is the same spectroscopy that we use today.

Autochrome was extraordinarily expensive and complex. So, only those who were wealthy and technically-minded would have access to it. Mervyn O'Gorman was one such individual, and hence we have a visual record of Christina.

When our brains process photographs, black and white tends to subtract a sense of reality from them. When we witness something in full color, we understand that these were living, breathing people, with the same hopes, dreams, desires, and failings that we all have. Time changes, but people don't.

I don't know how much of this you are already aware of, being photographers, but when I came across it, I decided to share it. I'm sure most of you are aware of daguerreotype photography, but autochrome is new to me. Nor did I know that color photography of this quality was available in the early 1900s.

If you're already familiar with this, then sorry about the repetition. If not, I hope you enjoyed spending time with me and Christina.
Fascinating piece and wonderful photos of a beautiful subject, I have never heard of this process but we learn something new every day. Would be interesting to look into how lenses were made back then compared to the quality of what they have today with different materials, techniques, etc.

Thanks for sharing this wonderful set and background with us.
 

Roller

Site Champ
Posts
753
Reaction score
1,476
I'd like to introduce you to someone. Someone who took a few brief moments out of her day so that we could spend time with her right now.

I'd like you to meet Christina.

View attachment 21982

This picture was taken at the White Cliffs of Dover, in England.

View attachment 21983

That's Christina posing on the beach.

View attachment 21984

And next to a boat. She has strikingly blonde hair.

View attachment 21985

Here she is walking on the beach at Dover. I have walked on that same beach, myself, back when I lived in England.

View attachment 21986

Here she is with her younger sister and mother. Unlike them, I did not have a picnic.

View attachment 21987

Christina at a local garden.

View attachment 21988

She found...a shrubbery!

View attachment 21989

Another garden shot.

Why would I show you, my photography friends, these photographs? Me, who is very much not a photographer?

For that, we need some background on Christina. She's an ordinary English girl, she's not a model of any sort, at least as far as I know. These pictures were taken by a man named Mervyn O'Gorman. For some time, it was thought that Christina is his daughter, but in fact she is the daughter of a friend. I assume Mr. O'Gorman must have had a close relationship with her family, considering the number of snaps that she modeled for.

These are the only known photographs of Christina, that I am aware of. I don't know much else about her personal life. What I do know is that Christina did not have a short life, she did not die young. She passed away at the age of 84, having never married nor did she have any children.

You see, these photographs were taken in 1913. They are not colorized, they are entirely authentic, and could easily pass for a much more modern image. Christina was born in Harrow, on March 8th of 1897, yet here she remains, captured forever in time, all in living color.

They certainly look better than many photographs from the 80s and much of the 90s. I recall once hearing a photographer remarking that the reason that older photographs often look better than modern ones is that they had better lenses, back in the day, because it was a rare occurrence to have a photograph taken. They put effort into their pictures, cared about them, cherished them. Many folks only had their picture taken once in a lifetime.

The technical process used to create these color photographs is called autochrome. This involves taking a mosaic of potato starch which has been microscopically treated with three different layers, namely red, green, and blue additives, and layering that onto the plates used inside the camera. Red-Green-Blue (RGB) is the same spectroscopy that we use today.

Autochrome was extraordinarily expensive and complex. So, only those who were wealthy and technically-minded would have access to it. Mervyn O'Gorman was one such individual, and hence we have a visual record of Christina.

When our brains process photographs, black and white tends to subtract a sense of reality from them. When we witness something in full color, we understand that these were living, breathing people, with the same hopes, dreams, desires, and failings that we all have. Time changes, but people don't.

I don't know how much of this you are already aware of, being photographers, but when I came across it, I decided to share it. I'm sure most of you are aware of daguerreotype photography, but autochrome is new to me. Nor did I know that color photography of this quality was available in the early 1900s.

If you're already familiar with this, then sorry about the repetition. If not, I hope you enjoyed spending time with me and Christina.
Thanks for posting. I first heard about autochrome about a year ago and started looking for more about it on YouTube, including the photos of Christina, whose pensive expressions are captivating. Here's just one of many videos that goes into the process in some detail:


Makes me think of a variation on Paul Simon's Kodachrome:

Audochrome
They give us those nice bright colors
Give us the greens of summers
Makes you think all the world's a sunny day, oh yeah
 

Clix Pix

Focused
Vaccinated
Site Donor
Posts
2,747
Reaction score
5,046
Location
Eight Miles from the Tysons Apple Store, No. VA
Main Camera
Sony
These are fascinating images! Christina certainly had a natural gift for posing, and the photos are lovely. I'd vaguely heard of autochrome but never really knew much about it. Seeing it now in our modern era is amazing and quite remarkable, especially how well the colors held up over the years.
 

Yoused

up
Vaccinated
Posts
4,193
Reaction score
6,312
Location
knee deep in the road apples of the 4 horsemen
The other striking thing about these images must be that the photographer had really good timing. In my lifetime, a photo shoot of a model would use many rolls of film in a motor-driven camera body, and the photographer would select one or two frames out of the session, throwing scores or hundreds away. At the high cost of autochrome, it seems unlikely that the photographer was burning through rolls of film.
 

theorist9

Site Champ
Posts
323
Reaction score
211
The quality of these is remarkable, particularly the first and last ones. Their color is more vibrant than other autochromes I've seen, and they are also sharper and less grainy.
 

Colstan

Accidental Moderator
Staff Member
Vaccinated
Posts
543
Reaction score
715
Thanks for the positive comments and reactions. I took a few days off and didn't know if this post would get any traction, so I am glad that it was well-received. I'm not a "pictures person", and don't keep any for myself personally, but I do have an interest in the early development of the technical process. That, and I can certainly appreciate beauty, such as Christina's modeling for Mr. O'Gorman's photographs.

At the high cost of autochrome, it seems unlikely that the photographer was burning through rolls of film.
Other than the visual appeal and advanced quality for the era, what is striking is how well these were shot, presumably in one take. The technical and cost limitations of the day were much different than what we are familiar with.

Anyway, thanks again to everyone for the positivity. I hope to continue to post in sections of the forum that are outside the strictly technical areas which are mostly about dry bits and bobs concerning the latest shiny gewgaw. This was my first go at this, despite not being a photographer.
 
Top Bottom
1 2