Before Photoshop or Instagram
Before Photoshop or Instagram, Mervyn O’Gorman made these ethereal lifestyle portraits of Christina at Lulworth Cove in Dorset County, England.
With no Photoshop, no Instagram filters, and no digital post processing of any kind.
O’Gorman used one of the first color photo technologies called Autochrome, “an additive color ‘mosaic screen plate’ process. The medium consists of a glass plate coated on one side with a random mosaic of microscopic grains of potato starch dyed red-orange, green, and blue-violet which act as color filters. Lampblack fills the spaces between grains, and a black-and-white panchromatic silver halide emulsion is coated on top of the filter layer.”
Patented in 1903 and marketed in 1907, Autochrome remained the primary color photography process through the mid-1930s.
It had been assumed that the girl, Christina, was O’Gorman’s daughter. However, researchers have recently discovered that Christina was the daughter of a family friend, philosopher Edwyn Robert Bevan. Christina Elizabeth Frances Bevan would have been 16 years old when O’Gorman made the photographs. She died without marrying in 1981 at the age of 84.
The images are now owned by the Royal Photographic Society and are among the oldest surviving color photographs.