Belgian painter Alfonse Van Besten (1865-1926) embraced technology, utilising innovative color processes to transfer black and white photographs into vivid, at times lurid autochromes. The tableaux of his autochromes (a technology patented by the Lumière brothers in 1903 and the first colour photographic process developed on an industrial scale) are often bucolic and romantic. Demure ladies and girls pose in flowers and robes. Men in the glade play at dressing up in togas, revisiting moments from ancient history. We sense a class divide. Whilst the clean-complexioned relax in lush surrounds, working women are elbow-deep in laundry; men is dark, color-resistant overalls unload a barge.
Copyright: Florent Van Hoof’s excellent website on Belgian Autochromists
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