Working on monochromes

Technique and perception of hand-coloured photographs from 1910

Expedition, Bioko, tree ferns, photography, hand-colored, green

On the way to the development of colour photography, the technique of hand-colouring black and white photographs was an important and technically exciting chapter. The exhibition at the Zwischenraum (A Space Between) presents pictures from Duke Adolf Friedrich zu Mecklenburg’s Second German Central Afrika Expedition (1910-1911), that were preserved in the MARKK depot as hand-coloured glass plates. Now they are on display for the first time in decades. Our experimental approach to this collection focuses on the effect colour still has on the perception of these photographs, and further raises the question how photographic-technical practices can shape views on the world.

Supported by the Initiative for Ethnographic Collections of the Federal Culture Foundation

From the exhibition

Expedition, Niellim, rock formation, photography, hand-colored, blue-pinkish sky
Expedition, exhibition grounds, fishing boot, group of people, photography, hand-colored
Expedition, Goulfey, street, Royal Palace, four people, photography, hand-colored